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Book and Media Reviews
October 24/31, 2007

Socio-Economic Differences in Health, Nutrition, and Population Within Developing Countries: An Overview

Author Affiliations
 

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2007;298(16):1943-1949. doi:10.1001/jama.298.16.1943

Around 1990, a child born in sub-Saharan Africa was 20 times more likely to die by age 5 years than one born in a developed country. Ten years later, the gap had increased 29-fold.1 Similar gaps are also present within low- and middle-income countries, but these are still greatly overlooked. For instance, research in an impoverished area of rural Tanzania examining this relationship between household assets (eg, ownership of bicycles, radios, tin roofs) and health status demonstrated that among those in the poorest quintile of wealth, not a single child with recent symptoms of pneumonia was given an antibiotic, compared with a third of those in the upper quintile receiving antibiotics. Even the least poor were grossly undertreated, but there were consistently marked disparities, even in the midst of appalling poverty.2

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