The link between polio and poverty

November 1, 2012

Here at the Global Poverty Project, we’re often asked why we campaign on polio. For those new to the issue, the link between polio and poverty is not immediately obvious.

But the truth is, poverty and polio are inextricably linked. On the one hand, those living in extreme poverty are far more likely to contract polio. On the other, being paralysed by polio can prevent a child from rising out of poverty.

Why is this the case? Just take a look at the areas affected by polio – these are places where issues such as poor water and sanitation, inadequate nutrition and a lack of access to even the most basic health care services can combine to create the perfect conditions for communicable diseases like polio to spread.

Meanwhile, contracting polio can cast a cloud over a child’s future. In some places, the lack of physiotherapy, mobility aids, disabled access and even the stigma of the disease can prevent a polio-affected child from finishing school, getting a job or even getting married. Instead of being able to contribute to the productivity and wellbeing of their family and greater community, they can end up falling deeper into poverty.

This is what the This global effort to end polio is all about – reaching the children who would normally miss out on the vaccine and ensuring they are protected against polio. Whilst doing that, we are also developing the tools and tactics to reach them with food, clean water and other health services. But most of all, we can wipe out this disease forever, ensuring that no child will ever again be dragged into poverty because of this easily preventable disease.



Latest news Syria: half of the population now live in poverty

A destroyed factory in the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo (file photo)

Syrian Minister of Industry Kamaleddine Tohme says the ongoing conflict in his country has taken a heavy toll on Syria’s industrial sector, and cost it over two billion dollars.

Nov. 3, 2013

"The losses in the industrial sector from the start of the Syrian crisis till October total 336 billion Syrian pounds ($2.2 billion)," Tohme said in a statement published in the Damascus-based al-Watan newspaper on Sunday. 

He further noted that the private industrial sector has lost $1.5 billion, adding that the public industry has suffered $700 million. 

Tohme underlined that the figures did not reflect the losses that foreign-sponsored Syrian militants have incurred in areas under their control. 

A report commissioned by UN agencies in October stated that the devastating conflict in Syria has left over half of the country's population in poverty. 

"More than half of the population now live in poverty, with 7.9 million people becoming poor since the beginning of the crisis, of whom 4.4 million now live in extreme poverty," said the report.

It also put the unemployment rate at 48.6 percent, saying 49 percent of Syria’s children were out of school as education "is in the midst of a silent disaster." 

The report further noted that Syria’s gross domestic product (GDP) has contracted by 34.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013, and 39.6 percent in the second, compared to that of last year, and is in a state of “spectacular collapse.” 

Syria also suffered a total economic loss of $103.1 billion (75 billion euros) by the first quarter of 2013. The amount is equivalent to 147 percent of Syria's 2010 GDP at constant prices. 

Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside the country.