Just one of the many disadvantages that poverty brings to children living in the slums in the Philippines is their poor health. While statistics from various government agencies in the Philippines as well as from international organizations like the UNICEF will tell you that infant and child mortality has decreased in the last ten years in the Philippines, health nonetheless is still a major concern, especially when it comes to children living in the slums.
It is not surprising that poor health is a direct consequence of poverty in the Philippines. For one, poverty prevents a child from getting the nutrition that he or she needs, and it is a problem that often starts right from when he or she was still inside his or her mother's womb. We all know the direct relationship of the mother's health to the health of the fetus she carries. If she does not get proper nutrition, naturally she will not give birth to a healthy baby.
Lack of nutrition makes a child's body weak. A child living in the slums is vulnerable to various illnesses simply because of where he or she lives. Slums in the Philippines are beset with overcrowding and lack of sanitation. Many slum areas are located near polluted canals and waterways. Many are also situated near landfills and dump sites. In such conditions, can you seriously expect a child who is already weakened by poor nutrition to not succumb to illness borne by his or her environment? Outbreaks of diarrhea are common in the slums, not to mention dengue epidemics, among others. Children often fall victims to these diseases.
The hardest thing about the health problems besetting the Filipino child in the slums is that if they do fall ill, they would not have easy access to proper medicine and health care. There are community health centers and public hospitals in the Philippines, but they are grossly understaffed and overcrowded. The better hospitals, on the other hand, are far too expensive for them.
Health problems are just one of the realities that children living in the slums of the Philippines have to face. It is a constant threat that they have to live with all the time.
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