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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Tropical medicine & international health
Title The poorest of the poor: a poverty appraisal of households affected by visceral leishmaniasis in Bihar, India
Volume 14
Issue 6
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
Page numbers 639-644
URL http://repository.ias.ac.in/94526/
Objective To provide data about wealth distribution in visceral leishmanisis (VL)-affected communities compared to that of the general population of Bihar State, India.

Methods After extensive disease risk mapping, 16 clusters with high VL transmission were selected in Bihar. An exhaustive census of all households in the clusters was conducted and socio-economic household characteristics were documented by questionnaire. Data on the general Bihar population taken from the National Family Health Survey of India were used for comparison. An asset index was developed based on Principal Components Analysis and the distribution of this asset index for the VL communities was compared with that of the general population of Bihar.

Results 83% of households in communities with high VL attack rates belonged to the two lowest quintiles of the Bihar wealth distribution. All socio-economic indicators showed significantly lower wealth for those households.

Conclusion Visceral leishmanisis clearly affects the poorest of the poor in India. They are most vulnerable, as this vector-born disease is linked to poor housing and unhealthy habitats. The disease leads the affected households to more destitution because of its impact on household income and wealth. Support for the present VL elimination initiative is important in the fight against poverty.

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