Top 5 Preventable Diseases Caused by Poverty
While the causes of some diseases are debatable, a lot are easily preventable. However, because of a lack of access to healthcare and poor sanitation, a lot of people in developing nations die from these preventable diseases. With education and better healthcare, the people of these nations could be saved.

  1. Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) and Other Prenatal Conditions: Neonatal tetanus is the result of unclean birthing practices. The illness can cause extreme pain to the infant at birth, often leading to its death. However, with cleaner birthing practices and immunizing the expectant mothers with the inexpensive Tetanus Toxoid-Containing Vaccines, babies and mothers can be saved. Organizations such as Circle K and UNICEF have been working for many years to eliminate this disease and have been highly successful. The number of countries containing the disease went from 21 in 2015 to 18 in 2016, and the number of newborns dying from MNT has decreased by 96% since the late ’80s.
  2. HIV/AIDS: HIV/AIDS kills about 7.2% of developing countries’ populations, and by the end of 2007, 33.2 million people were living with HIV. HIV is also the leading cause of death in Africa. Many organizations are continuing their prevention practices by allowing access to affordable condoms, HIV testing and counseling as well as sexual health education in schools and communities. There is also hope for a cure as scientists are still researching for a vaccine. In 2016, a vaccine trial called HVTN 072 tested if the HIV infection could be prevented among South African adults. Research regarding a vaccine gets more in-depth each year.
  3. Measles: There are many preventable diseases that can be stopped with a vaccine. However, in developing countries, health services for those vaccines are either unavailable or inaccessible. While measles is very rare in industrialized countries like the United States, the illness has a 40% mortality rate among children in developing nations who contract it. In 2003, measles took the lives of more than 500,000 children.
  4. Malaria: Another one of the diseases preventable with vaccines, malaria kills more than one million people a year. It is especially prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa.
  5. Tuberculosis: The countries of India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa account for 60% of total deaths caused by tuberculosis. It is one of the top 10 causes of death in the world, yet it is also a treatable and preventable disease. Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria in the air which eventually affects the lungs. People living with HIV are more at risk of dying from the disease. To treat this disease, patients take a six-month course of four antimicrobial drugs.

In our developed worlds with advanced medical work, people don’t usually have to worry about these types of diseases affecting them. Developed nations, however, need to continue allowing healthcare to their people in order to truly eliminate these preventable diseases.

Emma Majewski

Photo: Flickr