- Timothy Lee
It may seem as an overwhelming task when attempting to understand the factors that are related to the health and nutrition of many, if not all, of the developing nations around the world. There is though one reoccurring factor that is constantly mentioned no matter where you begin your research into the issue, poverty. The mentioning of the term “developing nation” has become synonymous with the term poverty in my own mind. The issue at hand is how to turn these nations from developing to developed, which in turn would also contribute to the improvement of proper health needs and adequate nutrition standards for all. From malaria stricken nations to malnourished nations across the developing spectrum poverty plays a role. It is becoming more difficult now though to just blame poverty since there has been such a large influx in foreign aid to these developing nations[LL2]. Help is being offered, and it is upon the citizens of these unhealthy nations to take full advantage of these benefits, even if that means teaching the local populations the benefits of say sleeping under a bed net or feeding your children proper nutritional meals even on the low income budget that they have, as a few of the Millennium Development Goals have referenced.
One of the biggest health related diseases that impacts such a large number of people and yet can be prevented is that of Malaria. In the case of providing bed nets to all families of developing nations to help in the prevention of malaria, the cost of providing the nets is very small and are in rather ample supply[LL4]. The benefits from using the bed nets, those being less infected citizens, stronger workforce due to the advancement of the individuals’ health, etc.., greatly outweigh any monetary cost[LL5]. The individuals that would use the bed nets would get sick less often, be able to work harder, and the overall income gains would easily cover the initial costs plus more. There are two sides to the argument of providing these simple bed nets for free. The first being that in developing nations where malaria is rampant, the poverty trap is so deep that they are to the point where they can’t even afford to purchase the necessities for the prevention of the disease, thus people like Jeffery Sachs suggests that if we were to finance malaria eradication for these developing nations then they would end up on the right side of his S-shaped curve on the road to opulence. The other side of the argument is that skeptics are not positive that malaria is the actual cause for that countries poverty and that maybe it is because of a corrupt government for their failure to eradicate malaria, and if that is true, then getting rid of the disease wouldn’t help. In my opinion, both arguments make valid points. It is reasonable to assume that a country is poor because of the health of its citizens and if health improved then so to would its economy[LL6]. That being said, it could also be seen as being naïve to think that the health of a nation would be the only factor in that nation’s economic well-being[LL7]. Despite the size, governments of all countries play an enormous role in their citizens well-being health wise, economic wise, and etc. but to look at a poor country and determine that one cause, that being malaria in this case, is the reason for that nation’s poverty, in my opinion, would be a misinterpretation of the causes of poverty as a whole.
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Note that Malaria is not the only disease that is rampant and plaguing developing nations but is by far the easiest example to point to and say, “It can be done”, the “it” being the prevention of the disease, the repossession of several million able body workers into the workforce, and ultimately the building of a weak economy. The next step for a developing nation would be to tackle the nutritional standards of its population and ensure that those needs are being met in a way to guarantee that the population stays healthy. “Just as micronutrient deficiencies can lead to increased susceptibility to infectious diseases, infectious disease can also contribute to micronutrient deficiencies since the body requires increased micronutrients when combating disease. Worldwide, between 140 and 250 million children suffer from Vitamin A deficiency (VAD[LL8]).Primary VAD is usually caused by prolonged dietary deprivation, in particular lack of vegetables and animal products, and is particularly endemic in areas where rice is the staple food (Muller &Krawinkel, 2005).” The absence of adequate vegetables and animal products cannot be blamed on the average citizen but rather on the lack focus on the ecology, the economy, and the culture of the regions being observed[LL9]. Sachs view on the health of developing nations is that we should begin “scaling up” our efforts on the international side and support community health workers. While in previous Sachs arguments, that being about the poverty trap, I would’ve agreed with his views, but when it comes to providing educational matters related to health, or providing all the tools to a nation to improve their own health care system then when would that nation become self-sufficient and no longer need aid, educational help regarding nutrition, or their basic needs be met? [LL10]How long would we as the international community stand by and continuously pour money into these nations?
In conclusion, there is without a doubt a definite need for foreign aid when it comes to the health and nutritional standards of developing nations[LL11]. These countries are in a rut, also known as “The Poverty Trap”, and can only climb out of such trap when the proper ladder is offered to help bring them out from the hole they find themselves in as Sachs explains it. This doesn’t however excuse these developing nations from all responsibilities involving their population and the providing of proper education, food, and economic well-being for its citizens. When a nation [LL12]has so called “low-hanging fruits” available to them but doesn’t or won’t take full advantage of these “fruits” even after the international community has exhausted its capabilities to educate, influence, and integrate proper health and nutritional standards then in my opinion said nations should be coerced [LL13]into following the protocol that other developing nations are following by having some sort of aid reduction policy implemented so that countries would feel obligated to begin doing for themselves what they should be doing all along[LL14], and until they show evidence of taking advantage of the “low-hanging fruits”.
Banerjee, Abhijit V., and Esther Duflo. Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty. New York: Public Affairs, 2011. Print.
“Micronutrient Deficiency.” Ih887 /. Web. 25 June 2015.
Muller, O., & Krawinkel, M., (2005)Malnutrition and Health in Developing Countries.CMAJ, 279-286.
Sachs, Jeffrey. “A Call to Scale-Up Community Health Workers.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com. Web. 25 June 2015.
[LL1]Nice job Tim. Organization needs a little more work though. It’s a little hard to tell if your focus is on aid or health, or both and you’re missing a few opportunities to apply more critical analysis.
Esp. conclusion seems a bit abrupt and doesn’t seem to link closely to your intro.
It’s a bit short of the word count laid out in the syllabus, and a bit short on analysis and discussion in a few places.
Otherwise, a nice project.
[LL2]Can you develop this more? How does the influx of aid make this more difficult?
[LL3]Need to discuss/explain/introduce this graphic as part of your discussion. This is a bit choppy.
[LL4]Need to cite these two claims.
[LL5]According to who? So why don’t more people use them?
[LL6]Develop this argument a bit more.
[LL8]Citation? And why is this bad?
[LL9]Can we blame any other factors? Why are there fewer elephants in Kenya than in Zinbabwe?
[LL10]I think I get your basic point, but the wording /structure is making it hard to follow you.
[LL11]Not sure you’ve established this point… your intro seemed to suggest that you saw merit in the idea that aid might hurt more than help…
[LL12]Do you mean the government/members of government or the population at large?
[LL13]By who? We should send in the army?
[LL14]Need to develop this idea a bit more in the preceding paragrphs… what are some things that can be done, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of these proposals? Do they seem reasonable to you? Etc.
[LL15]Works cited doesn’t seem quite uniform
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