Poverty Still Man’s Greatest Problem

By Victor Anya

There is no denying the fact that poverty remains the greatest problem that is confronting humanity globally. This is because poverty breeds hunger, diseases, poor homes, dirty environment, hatred, fight and wars. The United Nations defines poverty as a situation where people live on less than one American dollar a day. Poverty also makes people to live in dirty homes and environments. Majority of problems that are confronting the human race daily are as a result of poverty. In fact, poverty is the genesis of all the problems occurring everyday across the entire world. On a daily bases, millions of people across the world go hungry as they have no food to eat. It is estimated that 1 in 9 people go to bed hungry; those who are luck go to bed with half-empty stomachs while the few that are fortunate go to bed with filled stomachs but such foods are poor in nutrient. Such foods can’t be classified as balanced diet according to technologists and dieticians.

During the earlier age of humanity it was natural then for people to eat three times daily or more as everyone was involved in peasant farming but that has become a luxury for a large number of people in the present world. With peasant farming as a common vocation, people were able to cultivate and also harvest whatever they ate.

In the time in question, people lived in their communities where they had access to free land for farming but with modernization and migration of people from their roots and origin to other places, land acquisition has become exorbitant and difficult. With migration in place, many migrants living in strange places have no lands to farm and they turned job seekers with industrialization in place. But industrialization also came with its difficulties as only few have access to gainful employments leaving a large number of the population jobless which also causes poverty too. 

For this reason, hunger has become the greatest tormentor of humanity presently. Owing to the acute scarcity of food, about 25,000 people die of hunger daily amounting to a whopping 9.1 million people annually. Poor nutrition and hunger is also responsible for the death of 3.1 million children yearly which is nearly half of all deaths in children under the age of 5 years. This is a staggering number when compared with the number of people that die annually from various diseases, suicides, insurgency, wars, air and road accidents that are estimated at 8.5 million. Over 80% of the world’s population presently lacks access to social protection systems of any of kind; such systems are not known in Africa. The number of people affected by hunger is highest on the African Continent with 20% of the population without enough food to eat. Even in parts of eastern and southern Africa, the number is over 30%. Food insecurity is worse in Sub-Saharan Africa where 1 in 3 children experience stunted growth because they don’t have enough food or vitamins. Apart from other health issues, stunted growth also affects the children’s cognitive abilities.

In this regard, there is need for proper attention to be given towards solving the problem of hunger and starvation which are caused by poverty. Year in and year out, kindhearted global citizens donate impressive sums of money to combating various diseases that are confronting the human race but not recognizable donations are given towards fighting poverty which is the major cause of diseases. This is indeed disheartening! It is necessary to state it clearly here that poverty is the greatest promoter of diseases across the human race. Once people are hungry, they are exposed to varied diseases as their immune systems are weakened by hunger and starvation. For instance, hunger causes ulcers of different kinds like ulcerative colitis and ulcerative gingivitis. When people have weak immune system, their bodies can’t fight against certain viruses, bacterium and diseases. According to some researchers, the worms in the stomach feed on the intestines when there is no food for them to feed on.

A popular axiom says that a hungry man is an angry man. Hungry people tend to easily get provoked and go into a fight at anytime. One element of hunger which is caused by poverty is that it pushes people into petty thievery and with time such people graduate into full blown armed robbery and terrorize innocent citizens. Poverty also compels large numbers of people to live in small and dirty homes which also causes diseases to spread very fast. Poverty leads to unwanted pregnancy and breeding of children parents or orphans which are very easy to be manipulated into crimes-kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, terrorism and insurgency.

Due to the fact that a large number of poor people live in shanties and very small homes, rape cases are also very rampant among such people. Poverty also leads to prostitution as hunger usually pushes young girls into prostitution. Poor people are also very easy to manipulate and used as political tools by politicians. This is why political thuggery is prevalent in developing nations of the world than in advanced nations. Poverty also breeds illiteracy as poor people can’t afford to pay the school fees of their children and wards.

The children of the poor are also very easy to be conscripted into guerrilla wars by warring communities, states and countries hence there are child soldiers in many warring countries. It is difficult to see the children of the rich fighting in wars as they attend schools in the Ivy League group. Today, Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world and recently, the Global Terrorism Index has identified Nigeria as the third most terrorized country globally and the number one most terrorized country on the African Continent. It will be difficult to dissociate poverty from the high terroristic activities in the country. Nigeria is also the world capital for under age five deaths and the world capital for open defecation. All these negative indices can be attributed to the poverty level and may plunge the country into further crime waves and diseases in the near future.  

The prevailing corona virus pandemic has revealed that there are kindhearted global citizens as they contributed and are still contributing towards combating the novel virus in cash and kind. But it is imperative to note that these benevolent citizens of the world shouldn’t wait till there is crisis such as the corona virus before they demonstrate their milk of human kindness to the poor and the underprivileged of the society. To this end, these tenderhearted global citizens should create a pool of funds to assist the poor of the society just like they are contributing towards fighting the COVID-19. From this pool of funds, the poor of the society can be assisted with funds with which to start small and medium enterprises so that they can stand on their feet. This will help to reduce the number of the poor across the world but not eradicate it as poverty can’t be eradicated. If the number of the poor is reduced drastically, the number of the rich will increase and this will also lead to the reduction in diseases and crime wave.

The greatest problem that is confronting the world today is poverty. Poverty is the cause of diseases, hunger, dirty homes, rape, unwanted pregnancy, kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and insurgency. The rich in the world should set up pools of funds that will enable the poor access funds to set up small and medium enterprises which will pull them from poverty ladder into the middle class. If poverty is reduced, hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on combating diseases across the world would automatically be reduced too. Poverty can be overcome if there are concerted efforts by the rich of the world just as they are giving towards eradicating COVID-19 in cash and kind. Once poverty is reduced, other problems that are confronting the world today will be reduced too. And this is achievable if we all believe in it and work towards it. 


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