“One billion people live in developing countries on less than US$1 a day, and 2.5 billion are living on less than $2 a day; more than 2.6 billion people lack access to toilets and other sanitation facilities; and 30,000 children under five-years of age die every day, mainly from dehydration, undernourishment, and preventable diseases.” – Bale, Global Economic Symposium. Improving Access to Health Care for the Poor, Especially in Developing Countries
Low- and middle-income countries bear 90% of the world’s disease but comprise only 12% of the world’s health expenditures, according to a 2008 article in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. There is not only a correlation between poverty and lack of accessible healthcare, but also causation. Poverty can lead to a dearth of available healthcare, and ill health can create cause poverty. Three deficiencies that factor into diminished access to healthcare in developing nations are lack of knowledge, lack of medical practitioners and lack of resources.
In many developing nations, a lack of knowledge contributes to the healthcare shortage. In such cases, members of the community do not have the education to stop preventable diseases, and medical practitioners do not have the knowledge to treat diseases after people become ill. Studies have shown that in Papa New Guinea and Pakistan, less than half of health workers were able to correctly diagnose and treat malaria and viral diarrhea, according to a 2006 textbook.
When medical practitioners in developing nations are well educated and effective in their field, they often migrate to wealthier countries where the wages and working environment are better. This phenomenon is sometimes called “brain drain.” According to a 2004 bulletin of the World Health Organization, nursing vacancies in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom led to a considerable increase in the number of nurses leaving the Philippines and some African countries.
A lack of resources can make it difficult for people in developing nations to access healthcare. Resources can range from money to tools to infrastructure. Even the most knowledgeable, available healthcare providers are limited without the proper equipment and medications and a clean shelter in which to work.
The lack of knowledge, medical practitioners and resources all contribute to a shortage of accessible healthcare in developing nations. Orbis Biosciences is committed to developing pharmaceutical products that help aid the specific needs of these nations. With the support of other companies and organizations in the United States and the rest of the developed world, the disease burden in currently developing nations will lower, and access to proper healthcare will rise.