Survey Looks At Global Perceptions Of Health Problems

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People living insub-Saharan Africa believe HIV/AIDS and otherinfectious diseases are "very big" issues that governments shouldaddress, according to a survey released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Global Attitudes Project, the AP/Google.comreports. The survey involved telephone and in-person interviews among 45,239people in 47 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe,Latin America, the Middle East, Western Europe and North America. It aimed todetermine how people perceive and prioritize health care in their countries andassess efforts of donor countries (Mann, AP/Google.com, 12/13).

Prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS are the top health priority in sub-SaharanAfrican and Asian countries surveyed. Large majorities of people in countrieswith high HIV prevalence -- defined as having an estimated HIV prevalence of 5%or higher -- and "next wave countries" -- which have largepopulations at risk for HIV -- said HIV is a bigger problem now than it wasfive years ago but also said there has been progress in most countries toprevent and treat HIV.

The survey found that addressing hunger and malnutrition are the top prioritiesin Latin America and the Middle East. Accessto health care is the top priority in Central and Eastern Europe, according to the survey. The majority of people living in23 of 34 low- and middle-income countries said that every one of the ninehealth issues asked about in the survey should be "one of the mostimportant" issues addressed by their governments (Kaiser Family Foundationrelease, 12/13). In other regions, crime, corruption,pollution or terrorism were listed as the biggest issues.

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Overall, the survey found that "global health is a local phenomenon."Despite the variation, "concern about health as a personal and familyissue is high in most countries and across all regions," the survey said.It added, "Despite all the differences in views and experiences acrosscountries, this survey underscores how powerfully health is experienced inpeople's lives and how many see a role for their governments and others to domore."

In 23 of the countries surveyed, at least 40% of people said they had notreceived health care because they could not afford it, according to the survey.Although this is a decline compared with findings from a similar 2002 survey,the "gaps between rich and poor nations in reports of hunger and lack ofhealth care remain enormous," the survey said (AP/Google.com, 12/13).

Majorities in almost every country surveyed said that wealthier countries arenot doing enough to aid lower-income countries in efforts to fight diseases,reduce poverty or fuel economic development. In countries that receive largeamounts of development aid, people were more likely to say that wealthy nationsare "doing enough" to help lower-income countries. People living insub-Saharan African and Indonesia-- which have received aid to address HIV/AIDS and relief efforts from the 2004tsunami, respectively -- were most likely to think wealthy nations areproviding enough aid. The survey also found substantial support among wealthiernations to provide more aid to lower-income countries (Kaiser Family Foundationrelease, 12/13).

All of the samples represented in the survey were national except for Bolivia, Brazil,China, India, the Ivory Cost, Pakistan, South Africa and Venezuela, where the survey was conductedmostly or completely in urban areas. The number of respondents in the surveyedcountries ranged from 500 to more than 3,000, the AP/Google.com reports. Surveyresults for each country have a margin of sampling error ranging from plus orminus two percentage points to plus or minus four percentage points(AP/Google.com, 12/13).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Reportis published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. KaiserFamily Foundation.

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