Millions of people suffer from health issues caused by infections, poor living conditions and a lack of access to basic health services. Caritas Australia works with communities to provide education on health issues, and facilitate provision of healthcare services.

Boy having a health check up

Sick African child with mother

The facts

People living in poverty often live in conditions which cause or exacerbate health problems. Lack of access to clean water and sanitation exposes people to infection and diseases such as diarrhoea. Lack of nutritious food causes malnutrition and makes people more vulnerable to disease.

Many such health issues are preventable or treatable, but people living in poverty are often unable to access and pay for basic healthcare and medicines.

Furthermore, poor countries are less capable of funding a functioning public health system. These problems are compounded in rural areas, where access to healthcare is even more difficult.

Caritas Australia’s response

Caritas Australia believes that every woman, man and child has the right to basic healthcare and that this access is essential for lifting themselves out of poverty. We also recognise that health is determined by a range of factors, including living conditions, access to clean water, nutritious food supply and education. Therefore, our health activities are frequently integrated into our holistic community development programs.

Our health activities include:

  • Providing education on basic health and nutrition issues for communities
  • Training members of communities to become health educators and health professionals such as midwives
  • Increasing the availability and quality of healthcare services, including diagnostic testing and medicines
  • Providing medical care in humanitarian crisis situations to people in need, including refugees and victims of violence
  • Working with communities to promote healthier living conditions, such as access to clean water and improved sanitation facilities.

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