Since epidemiology is viewed as a problem-solving process that concerns community health, epidemiologists cannot ignore poverty among the people. By ignoring poverty, they would be overlooking the detrimental impact that poverty has on the community at large. In addition, it would show little commitment to scientific rigor as required of epidemiologists. Concern about social- economic status of the people remains vital in ensuring that epidemiology gets utilized, and public’s health remains unharmed. From the beginning, epidemiology field, as a scientific discipline, dealt closely with destitution. This must have spurred effects of the worldwide community health on ways of life. As much as the industrial revolution brought about magnificent changes, it must be noted that it resulted in poverty and diseases. Diseases that affected the poor led to deaths, and the slums where low- paid and jobless persons dwelt remained crowded and unsafe.
Reasons why Epidemiologists cannot afford to Ignore Poverty
It should be noted that more research on health and poverty remains paramount in the field of epidemiology. Most people may agree that poverty and poor health can be associated in a way. There exist three arguments that explain how poverty should be viewed in the US and the globe at large. The first one explains that the meagre fee poorly due to their moral, cerebral, and biological insufficiencies. The second argument explains the poor consist of a causal arrow that runs from poor health to poverty due to illnesses that interfere with earning and learning. The third argument can be said to be social injustices that require redistributive justice. The definition of poverty and the poor remains ambiguous since there are different ongoing arguments that date centuries back. There exist two reasons why epidemiologists must continue to study health and poverty (Krieger 44).
The first reason is to ensure public remains aware of the magnitude of the problem such that they can act on it. The other reason is to ensure that people move from mere opinions, and they become able to measure hypothesis of causal flows.
Another vital point to note is that it remains critical for all epidemiologists to participate and turn their attention to how the economy affects public health. Epidemiology is a wide field that deals with different issues affecting health but it would be vital for non- social epidemiologists to tackle the issue of poverty and health. There are two reasons that explain why all epidemiologists should be concerned about that issue. The first reason is that many of epidemiologists’ interests remain jointly embodied and seem to coexist. The second reason is that the epidemiologists need to set the range of probabilities to ease comparisons. It is extremely vital to remember that people are social beings as much as they are biological beings. Thus, their social economic status must be evaluated so as to find the connection between poverty and health.
The emergence of epidemiology as a field can be seen to be entangled with the need to study destitution. It remains a vital part of all epidemiologists (whether social epidemiologists or not) to pay attention to the relationship between poverty and poor health. This does not mean that research should only be done on the poor. It is beneficial to note that the poor do not live in isolation that means that a comparison group should be used. Peter Townsend (in an article that he wrote in 1986 about the poor) said that the only way to achieve health equity in a society was to limit power and wealth of the rich and build institutions based on a fair allocation of resources and ensure social equity. The author of the article feels that social justice coupled with human rights should be the drive of health equity.
Krieger, Nancy. Epidemiology: Why Epidemiologists Cannot afford to ignore Poverty, 2007. Web.
Miller, William C. Commentary: Reference-test Bias in Diagnostic-test Evaluation: A Problem for Epidemiologists, too, 2002. Web.