Have you ever experienced the pain of hunger? Are you familiar with the taste of impure water? Do you know how badly sleeping on a footpath hurts? Are you aware of the pain of being deprived of basic necessities of life? Can you explain how lacking behind because of financial constraints hurt?
Many of us won’t have ever experienced any of this pain but does this allow us to become insensitive to those who go through this plight daily? Absolutely not, being privileged it is our responsibility to lift the underprivileged. We have people around us who are badly affected by poverty and many of them are compelled to live even below the poverty line.
Let’s ask ourselves, how do we define poverty? Many of us would answer it as lack of money. But the truth is that poverty is multidimensional, its not about lack of income alone there are multiple other disadvantages. Not having enough to eat results in malnutrition, stunting and wasting. Access to dirty drinking water results in bacterial infections and diarrhea leading to further depletion of minerals. Unavailability of electricity and deprivation from education creates poor surroundings which are not conducive to adequate growth and development.
First thing which is adversely affected by poverty is health. According to National Nutrition Survey 2018, 40.2% of children suffer from stunting and17.7% of them suffer from wasting. This reveals the high prevalence of malnutrition. Malnutrition is a vicious cycle. Let’s take an example of a malnourished female child who grows into a malnourished adult and then a malnourished mother and then givers birth to a malnourished infant and in this way malnourishment is transferred from one generation to another. This is how we never get rid of this vicious cycle and the burden on health sector continues to increase. Adequate and timely measures for eradication of stunting and wasting are a need of the hour.
Health is further deteriorated by unhygienic eating and living conditions. These situations are best suited for prevalence of bacterial and viral infections. Impure water results in diarrhea, typhoid and other diseases like hepatitis. Already depleted health is further compromised by invasion of these bacteria.
Multidimensional poverty analysis help us investigate that which type of poverty exists in a particular region. This helps in designing policy and welfare programs according to the existing problem.