Every country has given high priority to the development of their countries and it has contributed to create a range of health risks in both developing and developed countries. This report focuses on the health risks caused by different levels of development and health risks that have no relation to development. Following this introduction, section 1. 1 provides the definitions of key terms. In answering the above question, models and concepts are provided in 1. 2. The research methodology is presented in section 2. Section 3.
1 explores the health risks generated from development and how development act as a catalyst for reduction of health risks in LEDC, REDC, and MEDC. In addition, section 3. 2, delivers the non-development based health risks taking stress, obesity, smoking and tobacco as examples. At the end of each section, a sub-conclusion is provided in order to offer evaluations. Finally, section 4 proposes the final conclusion of the report. It is hypothesised that development and non-development of the modern society has led to a variety of health risks such as lung cancer, birth defects, and acute lower respiratory infections.
1. 1 Understanding of health, health risks, and development Health is defined by World Health Organisation (WHO), as a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. Health risks are risks to reduction in quality of life, morbidity, mortality and can be calculated by: vulnerability * health hazard exposure – capacity to cope. Development is defined as a specified state of growth or advancement. (www. oxforddictionaries. com). 1. 2 Concepts and theories Figure 1: Health risk equation Health risk = vulnerability * health hazard exposure – capacity to cope
Figure 2: Environmental Kuznets curve Figure 3: Omran’s epidemiological transition model Figure 4: Deaths attributed to risk factors in 2004 Environmental Kuznets curve and Omran’s epidemiological transition model (employed from the A2 Geography text book by Dunn Et Al, 2009) describes patterns of health changes over time and links directly to economic development. Health risk equation is related to examples used in this report in order to answer the research question. Thus, these concepts and theories are appropriate to evaluate the depth of the focus of the question.
Section 2 – Research Methodology To answer the question and collect necessary data, a variety of resources were used. To avoid bias and inaccuracy, reliable secondary sources such as World Development Report and other publications, have been utilised. Even though some academic papers such as The Times, The Economist are bias as they are based on political views, only the appropriate information regarding this report was extracted. Sources such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations (UN), Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has been employed to ensure minimal amount of bias.
Websites such as readersdigest. com and world bank. com have been used to ensure that information is kept up to date. 3. 1. 0: Developmental causes of health risk 3. 1. 1 LEDC Bangladesh (National scale) According to the 2010 World Bank report, air pollution kills 15,000 people in Bangladesh each year. The level of air pollution in Dhaka is six times higher than the recommended level of World Health Organisation (WHO). Air particles can enter bloodstream via lungs and may cause heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, birth defects, and acute lower respiratory infections.
The large number of street children, local streetwalkers and rickshaw pullers in Dhaka are particularly vulnerable to outdoor air pollution reached from industries and vehicle exhaust fumes. As a developing country, Bangladeshis are very common to be known to use open fires and traditional cooking stoves. As a result, exposure to pollutants from indoor combustion of solid fuels increases the vulnerability of infections such as gradual loss of lung function, cataracts and is also associated with mortality especially among the young and the elderly.
To cope with the poisonous effect of polluted air, effective policies must be implemented, and educational campaigns should be carried out in the rural areas. 3. 1. 2 REDC China (National Scale) China, with an economic growth rate of 7. 4% in the third quarter of 2012, is one of the highest growing economies in the world. The economy is based on 70% use of coal to derive energy for its power hungry economy based on large manufacturing industries (The Economist, October 28, 2012).
According to the WHO, some 700, 000 Chinese citizens die annually being subjected to lung, respiratory diseases caused by air pollution. As it would be the nature of any country experiencing development, the Chinese government has given its priority to continue its economic growth without any hindrance or limitations aiming to become the next superpower. Thus, it is not surprising that 16 of the world’s worst 20 air polluted cities are located in China (World Bank 2011). 3. 1. 3 MEDC London, UK (local scale)
The city of London suffers from great air pollution mainly due to vehicle exhaust fumes. Even though London is one of the most economically advanced cities in the world, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) health study reported that pollution contributed to 4267 premature deaths in 2008 alone. In order to combat the health risks created by exhaust fumes which are lung cancer, respiratory diseases, the local government has put into action various projects such as establishing congestion charging zones, creation of low emission zones.
The developed countries for example, the UK has decreased its vulnerability of health risks by implementing an effective and advanced health care system namely the National Healthcare System (NHS), established in 1948. It provides 24 hour service to all citizens in the UK. The NHS is also popular for its educational activities carried out regarding air pollution-borne diseases for example, 2010 ‘Air pollution’, and ‘Your Lung’ campaigns. They help to improve the awareness of health risks which allow individuals to take precautions to reduce health risks.
3. 1. 4 Sub-conclusion It was pointed out that all levels of development contain the same health risks (lung diseases, premature deaths, respiratory diseases). However, these similar health risks are posed by different sources of pollution: vehicle exhaust fumes in London, vast number of coal using manufacturing industries in China, and indoor air pollution due to open fires in Bangladesh. Some people could argue that development leads to pollution which in turn leads to more health risks.
However, the example of NHS in the UK is evidence that developed countries could invested its wealth on its citizens’ health. The UK is an example of a positive multiplier effect. According to the above analysis, development results in better health care systems and educational campaigns in order to either cure or prevent health risks. In accordance to figure 2, at the lowest economic development, the severity of health risks is very low. However, as a country grows in its pre-industrial era, the severity of health risks increases as in Bangladesh.
China is an example of an industrialising country and consist high severity of health risks. As it moves away from the highly industrialised to a sustainable economy (away from the tipping point), the severity of health risks begin to gradually decrease. Severity of health risks in the UK are on the decrease at present as it is in its post-industrial era. This is because its high development has enabled it to invest in health care and education. 3. 2. 0: Non-development based health risks 3. 2. 1: Stress-related and psychological disorders
Stress is a harmful reaction people undergo due to pressures and demands on them which could be related to hunger or work. The latest estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) indicates that the total number of cases of stress between 2010 and 2012 was 400 000 from a total survey of 1 152 000 in Great Britain for all work-related illnesses such as psychological disorders. It is clear that the stresses on Sub-Saharan women as they go through life are intense, even in the most traditional societies.
In the many parts of the region where disruption, famine, war, and forced migration prevail, the pressures are all the greater (Toole and Waldman, 2000). 3. 2. 2: Obesity Obesity results in increasing the type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. The most up-to-date Health Survey for England (HSE) illustrates that nearly 1 in 4 adults and over 1 in 10 children aged 2-10, are obese. In 2007, the Governmental-commissioned Foresight Report predicted that if no action was taken, 60% of men, 50% of women and 25% of children would be obese by 2050.
In Nauru, an island in the southern Pacific, the adult obese population is 78. 5% and in the UK, 24. 2% (BBC, 2008). By 2015, WHO predicts that 2. 3 billion adults maybe overweight and over 700 million obese. 3. 2. 3: Smoking Cigarette smoking has been identified as the most important source of preventable morbidity and premature mortality in the world. It damages the heart and the blood circulation, increasing the risk of conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
It also damages lungs, causing conditions such as chronic bronchitis (infection of the main airways in the lungs). Smoking is most prevalent at the age of 15 of both boys and girls which is 10% and 14% respectively in the UK (HSE, 2010). Smoking prevalence varies across the regions; for example prevalence of smoking amongst adults was greater in Scotland than England and Wales. According to the National Alcohol and Tobacco Authority (NATA) statistics, nearly 22,000 Sri Lankans, mainly those under aged die due to tobacco related products annually.
3. 2. 4: Alcohol Alcohol contributes to thousands of deaths each year. A report in 2010 from the Office for National Statistics has shown that alcohol related diseases in the UK are killing nearly twice as many women as at the start of during the early 1990s. In 2008, there were 6769 deaths directly related to alcohol which was an increase of 24% from 2001. Of these alcohol related deaths, the majority (4400 people) died from alcoholic liver disease (www. ic. nhs. uk).
At present, tobacco causes an estimated annual loss of US $ 100 billion to the economy of the developing world. This amount is more than 50% of the total annual health expenditure in those countries. The worst affected are the families of smokers in the lowest socioeconomic groups where a greater proportion of the family income is spent on alcohol, thus widening the gap between the rich and the poor in many third world countries (Regional Health Forum, WHO). 3. 2. 5: Summary evaluation
According to the above analysis, it is clear that psychological disorder, obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption are not related to development. Stress levels could rise due to hardships in lifestyles in Sub-Saharan Africa or heavy work in an MEDC country. Obesity clearly is high in Nauru than in the UK by 53%. Figure 4 illustrates that high income countries have less health risks in comparison to low and middle income countries for example consumption of tobacco and alcohol is much higher in middle income countries than high and low income countries.
This result is proved by Omran’s epidemiological model since the late and post phases (high income countries for example the UK) show the gradual decline in health risks and the early, late phases (low and middle income countries for example China) illustrate the high amount or severity of health risks. This result of low income countries having less health risks can be explained by the downward spiral method: poor health leads to a setback in the economy; therefore, less money to spend on health care leading to a stagnant economy. This is common to all LEDCs. Section 4. 0: Conclusion
The greatest risks generated from development in MEDCs and REDCs is mainly due to pollution. To prevent or cure the resulting health risks, the developed nations have invested in health care and education. The health risks that have no relation to development were thought to be rare in LEDCs or at least less severe compared with developed countries in the past. This belief has gradually been replaced by growing evidence, supported by epidemiologic studies, that such illnesses are at least as frequent in Africa as in the developed world, if not more so (The National Academies Press).
Figure 6 clearly shows that low income and middle income countries exposure to health hazards are greater in comparison to high income countries. However, the vulnerability of health risks in the modern society in LEDCs is increased due to the lack of health care facilities and education regarding health and is explained by the downward spiral method. Thus, it can be concluded that the greatest health risks to modern society is not development.