Effects of Poverty

How Does Poverty Affect the Health of the Community?

The question, “How does poverty affect the health of the community?” is important as it highlights how poverty means so much more than not having money.

Millions of people globally live below the poverty line, unable to afford things like vitamins, doctor visits, fruits, vegetables or even clean water.[1] This leaves populations vulnerable to simple and preventable diseases—anemia, diarrhea, eye disease, yellow fever, chickenpox—which wreak havoc on already weak bodies.[2] Many in remote parts of Asia have not been taught basic health and hygiene principles, like brushing teeth or washing hands, opening the door further for diseases that prevent work and negatively impact lives.[3]

GFA World supports a medical ministry which helps thousands of communities in need of medical attention, all while demonstrating the love of God. Skilled doctors and staff set up medical camps, which bring medications and health training to areas where people have rarely had the chance to see a doctor. Each camp typically serves 200 to 1,000 people.[4]

GFA-supported pastor and doctor Birkley was setting up a medical camp in a village for the third time. Improvements in transportation into the village, namely, the addition of a dirt road, had reduced the trek to the nearest health care center from several days to several hours. But for elderly or sick people, it was still much too long a journey. Even if the villagers made it to the center, many of them could not afford to pay for medicine. If they did pursue treatment, it would wipe out their savings and push them further into poverty. This is why Pastor Birkley wanted to hold as many medical camps as possible, to help treat people who would otherwise go without and to help protect them going forward.

One such patient was Petrina, a 52-year-old mother of three. She had gastric problems and skin allergies, which prevented her from working. No work meant no food for her family. Through the medical camp, Petrina received medications that would treat her ailments and gave her hope for the future.[5]

The impact of medical camps goes far beyond a checkup or round of antibiotics. Parents and children learn how to protect themselves from future diseases. The camps also address false beliefs and fears about medicine that might hinder the sick from seeking help. This all makes for healthier families, which means more time spent at work instead of being sick in bed, and more money spent on food and school instead of medication.[6]

The medical camps are free, so they rely on donations to continue working to end one of the effects of poverty. Consider partnering with GFA and donating toward our medical ministry.

Learn more about the effects of poverty and how GFA is helping!

[1] “Poverty.” Action against Hunger. Accessed August 2023. https://www.actionagainsthunger.org/the-hunger-crisis/the-causes-of-hunger/poverty/.
[2] Dorlo, Thomas P. C., Carmen Fernández, Marita Troye-Blomberg, Peter J. de Vries, Diana Boraschi, and Wilfred F. Mbacham. 2016. “Poverty-Related Diseases College: A Virtual African-European Network to Build Research Capacity.” BMJ Global Health 1 (1): e000032. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2016-000032.
[3] “Billions of People Will Lack Access to Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in 2030 Unless Progress Quadruples – Warn WHO, UNICEF.” UNICEF. July 1, 2021. https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/billions-people-will-lack-access-safe-water-sanitation-and-hygiene-2030-unless.
[4] “Medical Ministry.” GFA World. Accessed July 10, 2023. https://www.gfa.org/compassion-services/medical-ministry/.
[5] “Mountain Trails No Deterrent for GFA Medical Camp.” GFA World. June 2022. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/mountain-trails-no-deterrent-for-gfa-medical-camp-wfr22-06/.
[6] “Medical Ministry.” GFA World. Accessed July 10, 2023. https://www.gfa.org/compassion-services/medical-ministry/.