Health and poverty have been inseparable with regard to which causes the other (Combat Poverty Agency, 2005). Their relationship has created a thin line concerning which causes the other. However, a close examination of the two demonstrates that poverty is the cause of poor health in the community. People with low income levels face tremendous challenges in maintaining their health. Moreover, they are likely to live in poor environmental conditions, which may predispose them to illnesses. Although poor health can cause poverty to the society, it does not mean that its existence is a surety that poverty will emerge. Rich people who may be facing poor health are not likely to get poor because of the mere fact that they have ill health. On the other hand, the existence of poverty makes environmental conditions automatically favorable for illness to flourish. Therefore, poverty is the cause of poor health to the society.

Different views of this question can have some influence on the public health policy. The view that poor health causes poverty can shift the focus of policy makers to fighting poor health instead of fighting poverty. Fighting poverty would improve health but fighting poor health does not guarantee that poverty will be eradicated.

Two measurements used in assessing and reporting health related findings include Sickness Impact Profile (SIP) and Quality of Well-being (QWB) (Swanepoel and De Beer, 2006). SIP measures the efficacy of health programs. This helps the government in making decisions regarding resource allocation. QWB measures the impact of disability and disease on observable behaviors such as ability to move around. While seeks aims to help in resources allocation, QWB aims at mitigating the impact of disability and disease on observable behaviors.




Combat Poverty Agency. (2005). Tackling Health Inequalities: A Community Development Approach. New York: Combat Poverty Agency.

Swanepoel, H., & De Beer, F. (2006). Community Development: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty. California: Juta and Company Ltd.