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The Global Issue of Poverty and Its Possible Solutions

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Poverty remains to be one of the most challenging issues the world continues to face. “Poverty is a global problem, with more than 3 billion people—almost half the world’s population—living on less than $2.50 a day” (Issue Overview: Poverty, Global). Poverty rates have decreased over the years as more types of financial support are developed, but a large number of people still live in poverty today. Although there are many problems caused by poverty, the main issue caused by poverty is poor health. Both adults and children living in poverty are at a higher risk of illnesses due to poor nutrition and poor hygiene. Poor health can also affect a growing child’s development and can make it harder for a child to learn. According to Sheri Marino, “Studies show that chronic stress can alter a young child’s early brain development, leading to permanent changes in the structure and function of the brain, thereby having negative consequences on learning behavior and health” (The Effects of Poverty on Children). When a child isn’t able to do well in school, they will most likely have trouble finding jobs in the future and instead of breaking the cycle of poverty and improving their quality of life, it will instead lead to a start in another cycle of poverty as it is passed on to the next generation. Poverty is a serious issue that affects the health and the lifestyle of those living in poverty; but solutions such as increasing foreign aid, housing vouchers, lowering the cost of health care, and increased access to education can all help reduce poverty and can help improve the quality of life for those living in poverty.

The first solution that can help end poverty and that can help improve the health of those living in poverty is by increasing foreign aid. Foreign aid is given by wealthy countries to help poor countries develop a stronger economy that will help them out of poverty. While hospitals in most countries are equipped with quality medical equipment and professionally trained doctors, some countries do not have medical equipment and do not have trained doctors. Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, an area in the continent of Africa near the Sahara Desert are examples of countries that struggle with healthcare. Many lives have been lost due to the lack of medical resources used to treat those who are sick and due to the lack of trained doctors. “While many illnesses afflicting people in that region are treatable, poor health-care infrastructure, prohibitively expensive medical treatment and lack of public health education have combined to exact an enormous human toll in many countries” (Public Health Aid to Sub-Saharan Africa: Resolved: That the U.S. government should substantially increase its public health assistance to sub-Saharan Africa). With more medical resources available and trained doctors available, more lives would be saved. Foreign aid can help with this as it can help build nearby hospitals, provide medical equipment, and help send over trained doctors. However, there is a disadvantage to this solution. According to Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, “As long as poor nations are focused on receiving aid, they will not work to improve their economies.” (Development Aid: Should wealthy countries continue to give development aid to poor nations?). Poor nations can become dependent on wealthy countries which can become a big problem because instead of coming up with ways to help their economy, they will most likely sit and wait for support to come. Even though there are disadvantages to this solution, this solution can be used to provide better healthcare for those who live in poverty.

Another solution that can help improve the quality of life for those living in poverty are housing vouchers. In the US, housing vouchers are used to help people who are homeless by giving them the opportunity to find safe and affordable housing. If housing vouchers are available in other countries, it can give low-income citizens the opportunity to live in a safe home where they are away from the dangers of living in the streets and away from sickness or diseases they may develop living in the streets or overcrowded shelters where illnesses can spread quickly. Living in a safe home can help improve both physical and mental health. A safe environment and home are also essential to a growing child’s development. “Additionally, a May 2008 study by the Brookings Institution, a centrist think tank, found that low-income families who moved into more economically stable neighborhoods exhibited improved mental health and physical fitness; children performed better in school and adults found a job more easily, the report continued” (Housing Vouchers: Do housing vouchers help low-income families?). Better housing contributes to better health and good health leads to a better job and school performance. Performing well in jobs and in school can help the homeless out of poverty and can lead to a better quality of life. A disadvantage of housing vouchers is that it can be expensive. “More than half of HUD’s budget is devoted to the Section 8 program, at a cost of billions of dollars a year, opponents say. Critics say that Section 8 must rein in spending in order to be a viable program” (Housing Vouchers: Do housing vouchers help low-income families?). Since only a small percentage of rent is paid by low-income families with housing vouchers, most of the rent is paid by the government, and rent can be pretty expensive especially for bigger families renting bigger homes. Although housing vouchers can be expensive and take away billions of dollars from the government each year, housing vouchers have definitely proven to help low-income families out of poverty.

Another solution that can help end poverty is lowering healthcare costs. In the US, a program called Medicaid helps low-income citizens get access to affordable healthcare. If a program like Medicaid can be available in other countries with high poverty rates, it can help reduce death rates caused by poverty and can improve health. People living in poverty are most likely to catch illnesses and are more prone to disease. Without enough money, it can be hard to get affordable treatments. “It is important to have universal health care so that people do not lose their housing due to medical bills and loss of time at work” (Wall. John. Personal interview. 28 September 2020). Medical bills can also cause more problems for low income citizens. Medicaid has helped people get the right treatments they need without having to worry about high costs and has saved millions of lives.“Numerous studies show that by improving access to preventive and primary care and by protecting against (and providing care for) serious diseases, Medicaid has helped make millions of Americans healthier” (Government Programs and Funding: Are government programs like welfare, food stamps, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid beneficial to the United States?). Better access to healthcare can help individuals live a healthier life which can help individuals live longer. However, lowering the cost of healthcare can be expensive and can be harmful to the economy. “In a 2012 column for the New York Post, Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute argued that Medicare—which he called the ‘800-pound gorilla of the American health-care system’—’is threatening to bankrupt the country” (Government Programs and Funding: Are government programs like welfare, food stamps, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid beneficial to the United States?). Lowering healthcare costs can cause a country to be in great debt and can lead to bankruptcy. Health is important and although it may be expensive, lowering the cost of healthcare can save thousands of lives and can help people living in poverty become healthier, which can help them find jobs easier.

The best solution and the essential key to ending poverty is better access to education. “Education plays a vital role in ending poverty and builds roads to healthy relationships, gainful employment and housing stability” (Brockdorff, Gina. Personal interview. 25 September 2020). Education is an important part of life and the number of job opportunities available to an individual usually depends on the amount of education they receive. More job opportunities lead to higher income and successful life. Higher-income can also provide safe and better housing. Education can help end the cycle of poverty by helping the children of low-income families get access to more job opportunities in the future, leading to higher income and with more to provide for the next generation. Not only can education help children of low-income families have a better life, but education can also educate citizens on agriculture and good hygiene. According to Karyn Adams, “Education improves food security and reduces malnutrition. By educating citizens on agriculture and farming techniques, they become capable of growing and selling their own food. This creates a source of income as well as healthy living” (How Does Education Affect Poverty?). Learning about agriculture can help low-income families out of poverty and can even strengthen the economy while learning about good hygiene can lead to healthier lifestyles. Educating people about good hygiene is important as it can help them avoid getting ill. However, it can be difficult for countries without enough school funding to provide quality education. It can also be difficult to provide quality education when not many teachers are available and trained. Although it can be difficult to provide quality education in some countries, development aid can be used to help with school funding, increased access to school materials, and better teacher training. If the world wants to end poverty, education must become a priority, and most importantly all children should have access to quality education.

Poverty is an issue that affects every country in the world and coming up with solutions and taking small steps to end this issue is important. One of the best solutions to ending poverty would be education. Development aid from wealthy countries can help support education funding and can help build more schools and bigger classrooms that will help children in poor countries receive better education, therefore breaking the cycle of poverty and leading to a successful future. Education can also teach people about good hygiene and healthy eating habits which can lead to healthier lifestyles. Development aid, housing vouchers, lowering healthcare costs, and education are just some of the solutions that are used to end poverty in today’s world. However, the world must do more and come up with more solutions to help end poverty. The more solutions developed to end this global issue, the easier it will become to tackle global poverty.   

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