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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sudan: Where Disease and Poverty Collide - and Collaborate

In a country where all pressing needs can really and truly be called ‘basic’, Southern Sudan’s health care system is still exceptional in its inadequacy. It is barely existent.

This stunningly poor nation is repeatedly singled out as having the worst health situation in the world. Here, one of out seven mothers will die giving birth. In some areas, there is one doctor for every 500,000 people.

Though throughout the developing world, scourges like malaria and diarrhea exact a huge toll, nowhere else on the planet do people contend with those threats in addition to a strange concentration of tropical diseases that have been eradicated in other nations.

Considering how profound this level of need is, HOPE International Development Agency’s medical supplies donation programme in Southern Sudan is a no-brainer. The relationship between health and poverty is obvious (how can you till your field if you are sick with dysentery?) but many do not realize how significantly the two are actually linked.

For example, we know that anaemia alone reduces Gross Domestic Product by as much as 7% in some countries (see the UN Millennium Project's Halving Hunger report). Imagine what the cumulative effect its myriad of health problems has on the economy of Sudan!

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