Prior to the onset of COVID-19, 10% of the world’s population was living in extreme poverty, with entire communities struggling to receive access to even the most basic of needs such as health, education, and access to water and sanitation - amenities that we often take for granted living in places like the UK/more high-resource settings (UN, 2021). Whilst we are all trying to move towards a new sense of ‘normality’, 70 million more people are expected to be pushed into extreme poverty as a result of COVID-19 (UN, 2021). The struggle to survive within a global pandemic is a new and frightening reality, yet for so many across the world, the fight against poverty remains a huge and continuous issue, further exacerbated by COVID-19.
Connecting poverty and access to healthcare
Currently, 800 million people spend at least 10% of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, a sick child or other family members. Sadly, for almost 100 million people, these expenses are high enough to push them into extreme poverty, forcing them to survive on just $1.90 or less a day (WHO, 2017).
Josiane’s story: A battle against poverty and illness
Josiane, a child living in Sub-Saharan Africa, is currently fighting through the battles of both poverty and a rare illness at the mere age of 6. Diagnosed with aplastic anemia (a condition which results from bone marrow failure and inability to produce blood cells), Josiane is more likely to have bleeding, anaemia and severe recurrent infections. As her symptoms got progressively worse, she was admitted to the hospital and was diagnosed with persistent pancytopenia, another condition which increases her likelihood of infections and bleeding.
Despite receiving antibiotics, transfusion and other supportive measures, Josiane's condition continued to deteriorate and as a result of such repetitive admissions to the hospital, her family was no longer able to pay for her medication and treatment. If the family were to pay, they would fall into deep levels of debt. Medical treatment for a young child or living just outside the poverty line? No family should ever have to choose.
This International Day of Charity, we ask you to spread your kindness through donations and help children like Josiane and their families to gain access to quality healthcare without incurring medical debt or being pushed into extreme poverty. Alternatively, you can engage in charitable behaviour through fundraising for Doctors Worldwide and help save, as well as change lives worldwide.
Access to quality healthcare is not a privilege, it is a human right, and we work towards making that a reality, especially for the most vulnerable communities. With your support, together we can help build healthier and happier futures for millions of vulnerable people around the world, including those like Josiane who was not able to receive the support she needed.
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