Bonds Lab

Digging deeper into the cycle of poverty and disease (Humanosphere)

05 / 05 / 2011
Digging deeper into the cycle of poverty and disease

It seems pretty obvious to most of us regular folks that being poor also increases your risk of being in poor health and that, conversely, illness can make you poor. And it seems pretty clear that this is even more so for the very poor living in parts of Africa or elsewhere in the developing world where there are few social safety nets, no disability insurance programs, many more deadly and disabling health threats — and your ability to work is basically a matter of survival. Apparently, it’s not so clear or obvious to many experts and academics. That’s why Matthew Bonds, who lives and works in Rwanda with the organization created by health activist Paul Farmer called Partners in Health, is trying to bring clarity and hard numbers to what many know as the “cycle of poverty and disease.” “Yeah, my wife keeps asking me why we need to do this, too,” laughed Bonds, who spoke yesterday at the UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. “But many economists and development experts actually don’t believe this is the case,” he said. “There’s a big debate, at least within the academic community, about the link between health and poverty.”

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