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Poverty can be defined multiple ways and can be viewed as subjective. As I reflect on my personal definition of poverty prior to my experience in public health was an inability to provide yourself with the most basic needs – housing, food, financially and medically. In reality there is truly a broader picture.
Today in the United States – one of the wealthiest countries in the world – by definition many of us would fall below the income poverty level. According to the World Health Organization “ In 2019, prior to the pandemic, 68 per cent of the world’s population was covered by essential health services, such as pre-and post-natal care and reproductive health services; immunization services; treatment for diseases like HIV, TB and malaria; and services to diagnose and treat noncommunicable diseases like cancer, heart conditions, and diabetes” (WHO.2021). The problem remains that healthcare is not affordable. That is simply one aspect of “poverty”. Government talking points regarding the raising of minimum wage or offering free healthcare sounds great, however it does not hit the root cause of poverty, regardless of if the solutions appear to make sense. Its like placing a band-aid over an arterial bleed, it may sound simple enough, but it does not fix the problem.