Coronavirus home tips can’t work for poor1 min read . Updated: 04 Jun 2020, 09:17 AM IST
Most families in developing nations may not be adequately prepared to adhere to the WHO’s covid-19 guidelines, shows new research
Around 90% families in developing countries lack the facilities needed to follow the World Health Organization’s directives for protection against the coronavirus, a new study has found. Preventive practices require suitable infrastructure, sanitation and reliable information sources—all of which are luxuries the poor do not have, the study says.
The study, a working paper in the United States’ National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), looks at amenities available to over a million families across 40 countries between 2010 and 2018. It finds that among the poorest one-fifth of these households, only 4 percent could comply with all the WHO’s recommendations.
The study evaluates the families on six parameters. Five are related to hygiene and social distancing: a pucca house, a toilet within the premises, a private water source, a place to use soap to wash hands, and enough space to accommodate no more than two people per room. The sixth aspect is access to at least one information source, such as a television or the internet.
The researchers’ index finds that across 40 developing countries, only 10% households overall had all the six features. Even among the richest, 70% do not fulfil all six conditions. In sub-Saharan Africa, the index for the poorest people is found to be zero—no household could protect itself through the WHO’s methods.
In nine countries with data on distance to the nearest public health facility, the study finds only 50% households had one within 5 km. But this also worsens for the poorest. No such facility is found within 5 km for the poorest 40% households in these countries, the study says.
Amidst the world’s fight against the coronavirus, the odds are clearly stacked against the poor. As the researchers point out, the preventive measures taken in the rich world are “near fiction" for most families in the developing world.
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