Health and Poverty
Workshop 26-27 November 2015 – Poverty and health are closely related.
Poor countries and poor people have worse health than rich countries and people with greater purchasing power.
This relationship is also bidirectional: poor people have bad health and bad health leads to poverty. Poverty has many causes. According to Jeffrey Sachs, "poverty is the result of the existence of corrupt managers and backward cultures that prevent modern development". He adds that something as complex as a society's economic system is made up of many different pieces and it is hard to attribute poverty to a single one. In many cases poverty has an anthropological basis, with inequalities at the educational level, access to health, disparities in the healthcare system due to inefficiencies in healthcare spending.
Lately, the scourge of drug addiction has enslaved in a particularly tragic way the poorest levels of society. Inequalities tend to be more pronounced in relation with objective health indicators such as mortality and childhood nutrition. Eliminating hunger is one of the imperatives of the millennium.
Alcohol consumption and smoking are also higher in the most disadvantaged socioeconomic groups. Poverty also affects mental health. The new challenge of mass migration produces an impact on a population's quality of life, consequently increasing poverty, prejudice, fear and new diseases.
According to the mandate that Jesus Christ gave us, Christians and people of goodwill have the duty of taking care of the sick and the poor.
This workshop will examine health and poverty in Argentina and Italia, discussing the causes of inequalities, the effectiveness of policies aimed at combating them and the strategies aimed at decreasing the size of the problem.
Prof. Juan Antonio Mazzei
Member of the National Academy of Medicine
Professor of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
H.E. Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo
Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences
Prof. Stefano Maria Zuccaro
Vatican Health Officer