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Primary Care in Developing Countries
The lives of 6 million children could be saved globally each year through more effective primary care. However, half of the world’s population cannot access essential health services. In fact, 800 million people spend at least 10 percent of their income on health expenses for themselves or a family member which can push them further into poverty.

Blockchain Technology and Primary Care Services

Despite these overwhelming statistics, blockchain technology is beginning to transform the health care sector in Europe and Africa through virtual health assistance. The European Commission has launched CareAi in June 2018, which is a digital computer system that uses a patient’s blood sample to quickly diagnose diseases without the presence of a physical doctor.

Harvard University Chemistry Professor George Whiteside created the machine to feature a small finger prick device. The patient experiences a quick poke from a sterilized needle, then places their fingerprint onto a chip that is inserted into the machine. The intelligent CareAi system has the ability to diagnose diseases like typhoid fever, malaria and tuberculosis in seconds and quickly prints results, which directs ill patients to nearby pharmacies for medicine. The machine’s intelligence is expected to evolve over time and could even surpass human proficiency in 2-3 years.

CareAi ensures that all patient information and results are kept anonymous so it will be able to help undocumented migrants and populations secluded from the health care system who fear deportation. However, if the government wishes to access data for policy purposes, it will pay participating healthcare NGOs and machine maintenance costs. CareAi machines will be placed in public places such as mosques, churches and markets so people who lack primary care in developing countries will be able to benefit.

CareAi Targets the Most Vulnerable Groups

Creators of this new invention are targeting refugee camps in Europe and are giving specific attention to India which only has one doctor for every 921 people as well as Africa. According to the World Health Organization, across the globe, 50 percent of the children under age five who die of pneumonia, diarrhea, measles, HIV, tuberculous and malaria each year, are from Africa. CareAi will allow easy access and accurate diagnoses to these people who are in quick and desperate need of health results.

Looking Forward

AI projects are taking place all over the world and opening up exciting possibilities in the not so distant future. In a piece titled, 10 Promising AI Applications in Health Care, Harvard Business Review highlights an AI-powered nurse avatar called “Molly” which is being used to “interact with patients, ask them questions about their health, assess their symptoms, and direct them to the most effective care setting”.

In addition, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is using AI processes to predict which patients will be no-shows and to reduce readmission rates. Artificial intelligence will continue to change the way we practice medicine and will open up new diagnostic possibilities for primary care in developing countries.

– Grace Klein
Photo: Pixabay

Top 10 Facts About Girls' Education in Developing Countries
Girls’ education in developing countries is proving to be an important factor in improving these
 nation’s quality of life. Educational equality is not only a lucrative asset to a country’s economy, but also reduces rates of child malnutrition and decreases the wage gap between men and women in many developing countries. The top 10 facts about girls’ education in developing countries that will be presented below will help to illustrate the global situation regarding the participation of girls and women in general in the classrooms of developing countries.

Top 10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Developing Countries

  1. Girls’ education affects a nation’s economy. According to the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), when girls receive an education, it increases their ability to gain access to higher paying jobs. This adds to a nation’s economy and increases a woman’s involvement in politics. Investing in girls’ education provides a boost to a developing country’s progress and acts as a catalyst for gender equality on multiple levels.
  2. Provided with an education, girls are more likely to earn a higher income later in life, increasing their family’s overall quality of life. Globally, if all girls received a primary education, 1.7 million children would be rescued from poverty-induced malnutrition. In addition, if all girls worldwide received a secondary education, 12.2 million children could avoid malnutrition and stunted growth.
  3. In 2013, UNESCO reported that nearly 25 percent of all girls in developing countries have not completed primary school, and that out of the 774 million people in the world who are illiterate, two-thirds are women.
  4. Education equality has been on the rise in many countries. Thanks to the Global Partnership for Education’s (GPE) and many other organizations efforts, the total number of girls enrolled in school worldwide increased by 38 million in the period from 2002 to 2015.
  5. Many factors play into the inequality seen in educational systems in numerous developing countries, such as India, where for every 100 boys not enrolled in primary school there are 426 girls. Often, poverty is the primary reason for this discrepancy. When families struggle to send multiple children to class, male children are often prioritized. Many girls in developing countries are oppressed by traditional gender roles that marginalize a female’s role in society.
  6. For every year of secondary school completed, there is an increase in woman’s income by 25 percent. This may seem logical, but many people do not think this way.
  7. Girl’s education can prevent pregnancy in childhood. For each year that a girl in a developing nation is in school, her first child is delayed by 10 months. Pregnancy in childhood can prevent a girl from receiving an education which decreases the chances of her child suffering from malnutrition and disease.
  8. If all women worldwide received a secondary education, this would prevent the deaths of 3 million children.
  9. Girls’ education in developing countries reduces the gender gap found in the workplaces of many progressing countries. UNESCO found that Pakistani women with a primary education made 51 percent of what their male counterparts made. This number was increased to 70 percent when a woman completed her secondary education.
  10. In Somalia, 95 percent of girls aged from 7 to 16 have never been to school. This is the highest instance of educational inequality found worldwide. This statistic affects girls later in life, where Somali women aged from 17 to 22 have received four months of schooling their entire life on average.

Going forward, improvements to girls’ education in developing countries will provide these countries with a more knowledgeable workforce, healthier families, less early-life pregnancies and lower wage gaps often found between men and women.

By providing women with the chance to better themselves academically, our global community has made us all the richer. With the number of girls’ enrolling in school increasing every year, gender equality in developing countries worldwide is becoming a reality.

– Jason Crosby
Photo: Flickr

Facts About Third World Countries
Third world countries all over the world are struggling to have their voices heard due to widespread negative perceptions and stereotypes. Many areas of the globe lack all the facts about third world countries, both knowing where such nations are located as well as efforts from within to push forward. Here are 10 facts about third world countries that will help give a better look at these developing nations.

10 Facts About Third World Countries

  1. The term “third world countries” was first used during the Cold War. This term was used to specify the countries that didn’t side with NATO/capitalism or at the time the Soviet Union/communism. Since the Soviet Union no longer exists, the term “third world countries” has become more open to interpretation in today’s society. The new generic meaning for third world countries are poor and underdeveloped nations. Such descriptors can refer to poor education, infrastructure, improper sanitation and/or poor access to healthcare.
  2. Third world countries can be categorized in different sections. Third world countries can be measured up in five different sections — political rights and civil liberties, gross national income, human development, poverty and press freedom. It is likely to see the same countries in each of these sections. For example, Somalia is listed under political and civil liberties, gross national income, poverty and press freedom.
  3. The term “third world” is becoming more and more out of date. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the interpretation of “third world countries” has become more open. With this phrase being so open it is easier to see the holes within. In an article by NPR, Marc Silver asked, “Who is to say which part of the world is “first?” And how can an affluent country like Saudi Arabia, neither Western nor communist, be part of the Third World?” To replace the term, “third world countries,” others are using phrases such as “developing world,” “developing countries” or “majority world.” There still isn’t a global consensus on which term to use.
  4. There are 166 developing countries. According to the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, there were approximately 166 developing countries; of these 166 developing countries, 52 are African countries; currently, Africa has a total of 54 countries.
  5. Water pollution is a growing concern in developing countries. More people die every year from unsafe water than from any form of violence. On January 10, 2018, the head of United Nations Environment and the Director General of the World Health Organization signed an agreement to improve joint actions to tackle pollution concerns around the world. Along with this agreement, the organizations also seek to improve coordination of waste and chemicals management, water quality, and food and nutrition issues.
  6. Health and nutrition resources are minimal. When determining whether a country is “developing,” there are three criteria to take into account. These three criteria are low-income, human resources and economic vulnerability. At least half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services. Along with poor access to health services WHO reported that two billion people lack key micronutrients in their diet and 88 percent of countries suffer from either two to three forms of malnutrition.
  7. Eighty percent of the world lives on $10 or less a day. Nearly two-thirds of the global workforce is listed under an ‘informal’ economy. Informal work means that these employees don’t have proper social protection, rights at work and adequate working conditions. In fact, the United Nations reports that “93 percent of the world’s informal employment is in emerging and developing countries.” Of this number, men, covering 63 percent, are most likely to obtain informal employment. The United Nations concluded that those living in rural areas are twice as likely to be informally employed than those in urban areas.
  8. There exists a higher percentage of violence against women. One in three women will globally experience physical or sexual violence by a partner or non-partner. This is true in any country, but the World Health Organization reported that those in developing countries are still more likely to experience this violence. It is reported that 36.6 percent of women in the Africa region and 37.7 percent of women in the South/East Asia region are most likely to undergo physical or sexual violence.
  9. Three hundred eighty-seven million children worldwide live in poverty. Of all the children in the world, 19.5 percent live in extreme poverty while the child mortality rate has improved in recent years. In 1990, there were 93 deaths per every 1,000 live births. In 2016, this amount dropped to 41 deaths per every 1,000 live births. According to UNICEF’s most recent report, about 15,000 children under five still die every day.
  10. Seventy-nine percent of people in third world countries live without electricity. It is seen that there is more harm than good for most who are living without electricity. Those who live without electricity are producing indoor air pollution through burning fires. This causes up to 3.5 million deaths per year.

Whether it is called “third world” or “developing,” countries all over the world are pushing to grow and move forward. Without proper funding and education, it becomes increasingly difficult to improve as stated in these 10 facts about third world countries. Visit Act Now on The Borgen Project website to find 30 ways to help those trying to overcome obstacles succeed.

– Victoria Fowler
Photo: Flickr

worst consequences of poverty

The causes and effects of poverty are often deeply interrelated. However, some consequences of poverty are so troubling that they stand out and need to be studied individually. Focusing on some of the worst consequences of poverty can unravel the causes of poverty and provide insight into how to eradicate poverty.

Some of the worst consequences of poverty include:

Increased Crime

At first glance, it might be easy to conclude that crime is a cause of poverty and not the other way around. However, poverty can render people hopeless and desperate enough to engage in criminal activities. For instance, a study done by the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime found that, even after controlling for the effects of a range of other factors such as substance misuse and poor family functioning that can influence violent behavior, “poverty had a significant and direct effect on young people’s likelihood to engage in violence at age 15.” Individuals growing up in communities with high levels of deprivation were significantly more likely to engage in violent activities.

Notably, this study found that those from low socioeconomic backgrounds had a greater likelihood of engaging in violence even if they also belonged to a “low risk” background.

Limited Access to Education

Poor children typically attend schools with inadequate facilities and receive the kind of education that hardly provides them with the tools to further their studies or seek employment, thereby restricting them and their children to poverty, which becomes a vicious cycle of poverty across generations. Additionally, geography can dictate if they even get to attend school. For instance, while a poor child in the U.S. can still attend school, a poor child in a rural area of Bangladesh might not have that opportunity. Distance, lack of transportation and financial resources often make it very difficult for poor children in developing nations to get an education.

There are stark differences between children from poor and wealthy backgrounds even in first world countries. For instance, a study done in the U.K. found that by the age of three, poorer children are estimated to be, on average, nine months behind children from wealthy households.

Health Issues

Health is perhaps the one area where poor people suffer the most. For instance, a disproportionately large percentage of diseases in low-income countries are caused by the consequences of poverty such as poor nutrition, indoor air pollution and lack of access to proper sanitation and health education. According to World Health Organization estimates, poverty-related diseases account for 45 percent of the disease burden in the poorest countries. Nearly all of these deaths are either preventable or treatable with existing medicines. For example, tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS make up nearly 18 percent of the disease burden in the poorest nations. Tuberculosis and malaria can both be prevented and treated, and education is crucial for the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Extremism

A recent study done by the United Nations Development Programme found that deprivation and marginalization along with weak governance contribute to violent extremism in young Africans. The study was based on interviews with 495 voluntary recruits to extremist organizations such as Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab and suggests that few economic prospects and little trust in the state to provide services and uphold human rights can lead an individual to partake in violent extremism. The conclusion was derived from the fact that most of the recruits reportedly came from marginalized communities, expressed frustration regarding their economic conditions, and felt an “acute sense of grievance towards the government.”

These are some of the worst consequences of poverty. These effects of poverty prove that, in order to achieve peace and safety in the world, poverty alleviation must be a focus.

– Mehruba Chowdhury

Photo: Pixabay

The Effects of Poverty in the Philippines
The Philippines is a country located in Southeast Asia comprised of more than 7,000 islands. Poverty has proven to be one of the most significant challenges facing this country and its citizens. Filipinos are having a hard time surviving in such difficult conditions, and more and more are falling into extreme poverty.

According to the Asian Development Bank, the major causes of poverty include: low economic growth, a weak agricultural sector, increased population rates and a high volume of inequality. Because of these factors, there are a lot of effects of poverty in the Philippines that make it difficult for people to live in such circumstances.

Inability to Afford Housing

With poverty plaguing the country and employment opportunities being scarce, many Filipinos are unable to afford housing, which puts them in danger of turning to the streets for accommodation. In 2012, extreme poverty within the Philippines affected 19.2 percent of the population or around 18.4 million people.

This poverty line survived on $1.25 a day, making it extremely difficult to rise out of poverty and find affordable housing for Filipinos and their families.

Malnutrition in the Philippines

Hunger is one of the extreme effects of poverty in the Philippines. With little money to buy food, Filipinos are having to survive on very limited food; even when food supplies are stable, they are most accessible in other areas where people have enough income to purchase the food.

And with such an unequal distribution of income, there is a low demand for food supplies in less developed areas that are home to low-income residents. The quality of food is also decreasing — rice used to be the main source of food for Filipinos, but now it has largely been replaced with instant noodles, which is cheaper but less nutritious. As a result, malnutrition has become a lot more common.

Child Labor

With poverty taking a toll on Filipinos, parents often can’t make enough money to support their families; children then have to be taken out of school to work in harsh conditions. Statistics show that around 3.6 million children, from ages 5-17, are child laborers in the Philippines. This is 15.9 percent of the entire population.

Crime and Thievery

With conditions so troublesome, people often resort to crime and thievery to survive. Research found that one of the overwhelming reasons to steal is due to difficulties caused by poverty. Without proper employment, people turn to stealing, especially since family sizes are rather large, and there are a lot of people to provide for.

There are too many people and not enough resources. And with such conditions, people become desperate and practice drastic measures to provide for themselves and their families.

Even with later statistics found in 2015, 21.6 percent of the population lived below the poverty line. Conditions do not seem to be improving, but there is always the hope for new development. As a result, it is important to understand the effects of poverty in the Philippines because it is a country in need of assistance.

– McCall Robison

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in Asia

Asia is the largest and moust populous continent on earth and is notable for its fast-growing economy. However, it is also the continent in which over 40 percent of the 766 million people living on less than $1.90 a day reside, making it the second poorest continent after Africa.

Asia is a place of extreme poverty as well as top business ventures. While all Asian countries are not poor, the wide gap in economic condition of the eastern continent’s people in its different parts drives one to explore the causes of poverty in Asia.

  1. Population
    The first and the foremost reason is Asia’s huge population. Almost 60 percent of the world’s population is in Asia. While density of population is not the same everywhere, the monumental growth of population compared to the scarcity of resources is one of the major causes of poverty in Asia.
  2. Food Security
    According to a report by the Asian Development Bank, 67 percent of the world’s hungry lives in Asia. Since 2000, there has been an increase in basic food prices, causing food insecurity for the poor, who designate a large amount of their income for food. Various factors like urbanization, population growth, a decrease in agricultural land and poor policy making are responsible for the increasing food insecurity in Asia.
  3. Education
    Lack of proper education also causes poverty. According to UNESCO, about 30 percent of adults in South and West Asia are illiterate, and about one-third of students in primary schools lack basic numeric and literary skills which are essential for further education. There is also a wide gender gap in education in South Asia, as only 62 percent of young women are literate compared to 77 percent of young men.
  4. Health
    Malnutrition in women and children is also another factor. Almost 69 percent of children with acute malnutrition live in Asia, which causes low weight and stunted growth. Women are also vulnerable to the situation, as almost 80 percent of adolescent women have anemia. Poor health prevents them from having proper education and a normal life, ultimately increasing the impoverished situation.
  5. Administration
    According to the corruption perception index of 2015, 60 percent of Asian countries scored below 50, indicating a serious corruption problem. Poor governance and corruption in administration make financial power available only to the fortunate few, fueling poverty for the mass population.
  6. Natural Disasters
    Asian countries are mostly dependent upon agriculture, forestry and tourism, which can all be affected by natural disasters. In 2015, half of the world’s natural disasters took place in the Asia-Pacific region like earthquakes, droughts, wild fires, storms, extreme temperatures and floods, causing significant economic losses.
  7. Global Recession
    With a recession in the global market, a vast section of Asian workers or laborers working in America or Western Europe have lost their jobs, negatively affecting the economic conditions of their families.
  8. Social Discrimination
    In some countries of South Asia, caste discrimination is prominent in different levels of the society. This prohibits equal opportunities among the mass population, making certain sections of the population poorer than others.

Most of the above causes of poverty in Asia are interrelated. An increase in population leads to a corrupt administration which, in turn, fails to provide quality education to all people, giving rise to unemployment, discrimination and food insecurity. Poor governance also fails to provide sufficient health and medical facilities, causing health issues and making people unfit for progress. It is clear that, before the people of Asia can rise up out of poverty, the lack of fair and uncorrupted governments throughout the continent must be addressed.

– Mahua Mitra

Photo: Flickr

what makes a country developedWhat makes a country developed? The commonalities between developed countries include an improved quality of life and greater access to basic necessities. Conversely, underdeveloped nations around the world also share common characteristics. Citizens suffer from preventable diseases, extreme poverty and lack of access to healthcare and clean water. Understanding the characteristics of underdeveloped countries can allow for a more strategic aid process to contribute to their development.

The former Secretary of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, said that a developed country is “one that allows all its citizens to enjoy a free and healthy life in a safe environment.” While this may be an oversimplified statement, it highlights key issues that must be addressed in order for a country to develop. Here are some characteristics of underdeveloped countries.

Low life expectancy 

While the life expectancy of developed countries is typically in the 70s and 80s, underdeveloped countries often have life expectancies in the low 50s. This is common in African nations and is due to high birthrates and low contraception use, poor access to health care and potable water, lack of education and disease. All of this can easily be prevented.

Many measures can raise life expectancy while decreasing overpopulation and deaths resulting from preventable diseases. This includes using technology to help medical clinics in rural areas, increasing the number of wells, utilizing solar sanitation systems, revamping national education standards and having a sharper focus on vaccines.

Poor education and literacy 

Similarly to life expectancy, literacy rates and educational systems are telltale signs of a developed country. While countries like Norway consistently maintain a 100 percent literacy rate, underdeveloped countries, such as Niger, maintain an estimated 19 percent. While primary school is mandatory for most of the world’s children, many drop out in underdeveloped countries. The lack of secondary and vocational education for children prevents them from entering the workforce later in life. This can be combated by revamping curriculum and teacher training and by enforcing internationally recognized standards.

Poverty rates 

The economy factors greatly into what makes a country developed. Lack of income prevents people from access to basic human rights such as clean water, food and preventable measures against disease. While only 15 percent of Americans live in poverty, over 60 percent in the Congo and neighboring countries do. With additional aid, underdeveloped countries can increase credit access and improve agricultural and infrastructural systems, which would produce food and create jobs simultaneously.

High fertility rates 

Overpopulation is another characteristic of underdeveloped countries. Lack of education and birth control have contributed greatly to high fertility rates. In countries like Chad, for instance, only five percent utilize contraception. It has contributed to high birth rates, a population in which the majority are adolescents and have low life expectancies. Better education and access to birth control can balance the booming population in underdeveloped countries.

It is clear that the steps to helping underdeveloped countries are simple. Healthcare, education and credit access contribute to what makes a country developed. By addressing the aforementioned issues, underdeveloped countries can take steps to develop further and contribute to eliminating global poverty.

– Eric Paulsen

Photo: Flickr

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranked last on UNDP’s 2015 Human Development Index — nearly 20 percent of Nigerien population cannot meet their food needs due to insufficient production. Less than 12 percent of the land in Niger is actually fertile, and there is an expected 33 percent decrease in agricultural activity in the next 50 years.

According to World Bank, the best way to help the situation is to grow drought resistant crops and come up with new ways to store water.

However, these efforts may be challenged by the conflicts spilling in from three of Niger’s neighboring countries. The conflict in northern Nigeria has relocated many chronically malnourished people into the Lake Chad area. Fighting has crossed over the border, worsening local food insecurity and endangering host communities, refugees and humanitarian workers.

Access to clean water is nearly nonexistent. Lack of food and water has caused malnutrition, disease, flooding and displacement — all of which contribute significantly to poverty in Niger. Many families are unable to provide the basic needs of food and clean water for their children. Save the Children is working to alleviate suffering among child refugees, returnees, internally displaced children and locals through health and nutrition programs, among others.

The World Food Programme has been working with Niger since 1968 to alleviate hunger and malnutrition.

The organisation has aligned its goals with the United Nations’ 2030 agenda, most notably with sustainable development goals 2 and 17: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture,” and “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.”

Oxfam has also assisted in reducing poverty in Niger for 25 years. They raise money to implement an education system and pastoral communities by means of lobbying and demanding accountability from the states.

Oxfam is using the media to promote a strong social society through political participation and reducing gender-based violence, women leadership and promoting sexual equality. They are installing a water system to provide clean drinking water for essential activities.

With a continued effort to reduce poverty in Niger, these organizations and other coordinated global forces will hopefully be able to make a lasting difference in the lives of these vulnerable people.

– Nicole Hentzell

Photo: Flickr