Overthe past couple of years, there has been an essential reforming ofthe global economy.Oneof the major obstacles that has brought diversity and inequalitybetween people, societies, and countries is the measures to fightpoverty. The poverty menace has led to the adoption andimplementation of economic policies to counter the condition atnation and global level as well as at the society level. The policiesadopted have led to mixed results with some achieving the desiredresults while others have failed to achieve the expected results.This paper looks at different policy issues with reference toBanerjee and Dafulo article, policy goals, their obstacles tosuccess, as well as experience in each of the policy. According tothe author, eventhe adoption of the well thought, drafted and intended policies mightnot have the primary desired impact if they are not instigatedproperly. Regrettably, the gap amid objective and application can bequite wide, hence making the policy ineffective.
Alleviatingpoverty is one of the core issues that governments have to deal with.However, this is made difficult due to the close association ofpoverty with hunger. Poor people often have a hard time gettingenough to eat, thus the close association between poverty and hunger.Therefore, for any government to eradicate poverty, it must first aimto feed the poor. To do this, many policies are put in place to tryand avail affordable food to the poor in an attempt to help themescape the poverty trap.
Oneof the policies includes the institution of food subsidies with anattempt to make food affordable to the poor. Most countries lower theprices of staple foods in an attempt to make them affordable for thepoor. The policy is in line with the first Millennium DevelopmentGoal which aims to reduce poverty and hunger(Banerjee & Duflo 2011).The policy, therefore, aims at ensuring that most people have accessand can afford enough food to eat in an attempt to improve thenutritional status of the poor.
Availsfood to the poor, giving them strength to work and earn an income(Banerjee& Duflo 2011).This helps in the reduction of nutrition based poverty. The subsidieson food are aimed at reducing the poverty trap where lack of food andenough calories restricts the poor people from working and beingproductive. The policy assumes that the provision of cheap food woulddivert the attention of the poor from seeking food to being creativein other poverty reduction measures. The policy allows money to spendon education and good health care which eventually leads to areduction in poverty. Education leads to the acquiring of skills andknowledge that can make one to perform certain jobs. Healthcare leadsto strength and increases productivity of the poor people. The propernutrition, especially in children improves their health and reducesthe number of deaths resulting from malnutrition.
Thesubsidization of food policy has not achieved its purpose due tovarious challenges. This includes the poor people search for sweeterhigher calorie and more expensive food from the amount that remainsafter buying the subsidized food. Most of the poor people use theremaining amount of money after subsidization to buy more expensiveand sweet food as this makes them feel richer, more so because thestaple subsidized food is considered to be meant for the poor. Thisleads to the subsidized food being consumed less (Banerjee& Duflo 2011).The author proposes a better nutrition and increase in caloric intakewould increase the productivity of poor people leading to thereduction in poverty levels. He also emphasizes on the need forsupplementation and fortification of affordable food stuffs with someof the essential nutrients such as iron to reduce cases of anemia.This supplementation can lead to better health and nutrition for thechildren and their families and therefore improve productivityleading to the eradication of poverty.
Healso proposes the education of the poor so as to increase theirknowledge on the importance of various food programs. This is so asto change their attitudes and priorities on the importance of goodnutrition and the role it can play in reducing their poverty levels.This would lead to acceptance and compliance. It would also show themthe importance of nutrition as opposed to other indulgences. Theoverall conclusion is that governments and aid agencies need torethink food policy and target only vulnerable groups (Banerjee &Duflo 2011).
Theother policy that has been devised to help in the reduction ofpoverty is the provision of affordable health. This is through theprovision of free vaccines, nets and other treatments to the poor.The policy aims at delivering basic health care to the poor in anattempt to improve their health and productivity. The primary area ofconcern of the policy is improving the health of children (Banerjee& Duflo 2011).This is because of the alarming statistics that 9 million childrendie before their 5thbirthday (Banerjee& Duflo 2011).Most of these deaths are easily preventable by use of simple measuresthat are easily affordable which include the use of insecticidetreated mosquito nets, chlorination of water and regular deworming ofchildren.
However,this policy has failed to achieve its purpose with the childmortality rates still being high among the poor. This is not becausemost poor people do not value their health, but rather due to poortraining of health care providers leading to poor health care for thepoor. Most of the nurses and doctors are incompetent in managing thehealth of the poor people (Banerjee& Duflo 2011).For example, nurses do not explain properly to the mothers ofdiarrhea children the importance of ORS therefore they do not use thepackets when given to take home. The poor also refuse to adopt thesemeasures and utilize them because of they believe that the cheaphealthcare is valueless. As a result, they opt for other alternativesto health that do them more harm than good. This is due to the guidedmisconceptions that the cheaper things cannot improve their lives andmost likely lead to ill health.
Theculture and traditions of the poor also play a huge part inpreventing utilization of the health services. Most poor people donot believe in or trust western medicine despite its benefits. Theyhave their own traditional ways of solving various conditions. Thismakes it hard for them to utilize the free health care provided tothem. For example, when mothers bring their children to the hospitalbecause of diarrhea and are given Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS).They do not believe that ORS does any good to their babies andtherefore may opt to stay at home and manage their children using thetraditional ways (Banerjee& Duflo 2011).
Thepolicy has also been unsuccessful because most of the funds allocatedtowards it are directed to the purchase of expensive curativemedication (Banerjee& Duflo 2011).Instead of the funds being directed to the purchase andimplementation of cheaper alternatives to health such as dewormingand provision of safe clean drinking water through chlorination. Thismakes the overall cost of the governments more expensive anddifficult to sustain over a long period of time since curativemedicine is more expensive than preventive. The lack of rewards forthe participating individuals has also led to the lack of utilizationof the health policy. The provision of a reward to the mothers whotake their children for immunization led to an increase in acceptanceof the same. Lack of incentives therefore contributes to the policyfailure.
Thefollowing approach should be used to ensure that health is properlyutilized among the poor. The quality of treatment should be raised tohigher standards. This can only be done through the training ofhealth workers on how to handle the various health situations. Thiswould lead to the delivery of quality health care, thereforerestoring the trust of the people and as a result reducing the childmortality and other conditions. The government should also educatethe people to eradicate misconceptions and erroneous beliefs andtraditions about health. It should also involve the people whendevising the health policies. This would ensure that the policies areaccepted and they address the felt health needs of the community.
Thegovernment should also concentrate in offering cheap preventive care(Banerjee& Duflo 2011).This care should be easily accessible to the poor as this promotesutilization. The preventive care would cut on cost as people wouldnot reach the curable stage. It should include the provision of freechlorine dispensers next to water sources to purify it, freedeworming pills as well as free nutritional supplements. Thegovernment should also provide some reward for those who attendimmunization. This would lead to most of the mothers presenting theirchildren, therefore preventing some of the diseases. This in turnwould lead to the accomplishment of the policy objective of reducingchild mortality.
Inconclusion, the book examines the various incentives that have beenput in place to alleviate poverty. Most of these incentives are free.However, this is not enough as it does not assure utilization of thesame. It draws various conclusions on how to manage povertypractically. Knowledge and education to the poor is paramount inpromoting the utilization of these incentives and in the processleading to a reduction in the global poverty levels. From the articleused (aradical rethinking of the way to fight global poverty),it’s clear that different policies have different initiativestowards poverty eradication in the society, but the success of eachpolicy is determined by the strategies towards its implementation.
Banerjee,A. & Duflo, E. (2011). Pooreconomics a radical rethinking of the way to fight global poverty.New York: Public Affairs.