Development and Health

Development Indicators

What do they show?

You'll be asked to describe a variety of indicators and explain how they show levels of development. Here's how:

Why are they unreliable?

This question will ask you to identify an indicator and explain why it is unreliable. Take note of who I've made my sentences with phrases such as 'not fairly represent' and 'is unreliable because' being very useful. This list is only a selection of the possible answers you could choose to use. Pay special attention to the HDI and PQLI.

GNP is an average and therefore hides variations in wealth within a country.

e.g. GNP is unreliable because it hides the fact that those who live in cities cann earn more.

e.g. GNP is unreliable because it hides the fact that some areas of a country may have access to more natural resources than others.

Literacy rate is unreliable because it does not show inequality

e.g. it does not fairly represent female and male levels of education - in countries such as Afghanistan females are often excluded from schooling.

e.g. it does not fairly represent remote areas where schools and school infrastructure may be difficult to access.

e.g. it does not represent tribal or nomadic communities who may have been missed on census collection.

Life expectancy can be misleading because it will not be the same everywhere.

e.g. war and conflict for example in SriLanka, Syria or Central African Republic will affect life expectancy but deaths are often not recorded.

e.g. some areas, specifically cities, will have better access to hospitals whilst others may have to rely on primary health care or less.

e..g. it does not fairly represent those parts of a country where famine may have set in for example in Northern Ethiopia or Sudan.

HDI - Human Development Index (a combination of GNI, life expectancy and literacy rate) is a composite indicator. This is better because it takes a balance of socail and economic indicators into account. It avoids overreliance on single indicators and so is more accurate.

PQLI - Physical Quality of Life Index (a combination of literacy rate, infant mortality and life expectancy) is better than single indicaotrs however has been largely replaced by the HDI as it only takes account of social indicators.

National Variations in Development

In Brazil there are three main regions of development that you can make short paragraphs out of.

1) the Golden Triangle: This area in the SE of the country is an area of industrial development with the major cities of Rio de Jeneiro, Sao Paolo and Belo Horizonte. This area has rich terra-rosa soils perfect for growing high quality coffee. It is also a industrial centre where the concentration of cities/population and universities mean the population is more skilled. This area has access to international shipping and trade via the coastal ports of Rio. Goernment projects such as the World Cup and Olympic bid are centered in this region and this extra funding improves basic srevices such as telecommunications and sanitation.

2) The Caatinga region: This region in teh NE of the country is much poorer. Around 15 million people live in the Caatinga region, and are regarded as belonging the poorest inhabitants of Brazil. A very large part of the population depends on agricultural or forest industries for over half of their income. There are few drinkable water sources, and harvesting is difficult because of the irregular rainfall.

3) The Amazon Interior: This region is almost totally inaccessible and as such mostly tribal communities live here. The area can be rich in natural resources and so sporadic areas of development blossom around mining and mineral resource extaction. This however lasts as long as the resources do and often at terrible cost to the environment and local people. Transport infrastructure is poor, telecommunications often non-existant and healthcare only servicable through PHC strategies.

International Variations in Development

This question merely requires you to draw comparisons between a selection of countries. Here's how:

Clearly, you'll need to write this as one fluid paragraph. I'd join up ponts one and two by using words like 'whereas' e.g.

"Kenya is a dry country so food production is difficult meaning they will have to pay more of their GNP on food imports whereas Singapore is more developed because it lies on the straits of Malacca and this gives her access to trade with Asia and the world."


Watch this video to learn some introductory facts about Malaria:

Physical and Human Causes of Malaria

Physical Causes: Malaria, or the parasite Plasmodium Sporozoite, is dependent on the Mosquito to be its vector – in other words the disease depends upon the mosquito to spread it from host to host. Mosquitoes can only survive in temperature range of 16°C to 40°C. The larvae of the insect hatch in pools of stagnant water. The larvae thrive in areas of shade so undergrowth and foliage often provide breeding grounds. Lower altitude areas tend to have warmer areas suitable for breeding in.

Human Causes:  Mosquitoes have less distance between feeds in overcrowded shanty town housing allowing the disease to spread more easily. Where people lack education it can be more difficult to identify symptoms or to properly carry out medical care. LEDCs such as Kenya will struggle to provide medicine as the pills necessary are expensive. Remote communities are difficult to reach with nets or primary health care. Poor nutrition can weaken the young and cause Malaria to take hold more easily. Pregnant mothers can pass the disease on to their babies in utero. In Vietnam, shell holes are a major concern as these are country wide and are breeding grounds for Mosquitoes.

Impacts of Malaria

Solutions to Malaria

This video gives a brief introduction to the prevention of Malaria:

This video gives some insight into the reality of the fight against Malaria in Cambodia:

You’ll need to refer to real strategies that have been implemented to solve the problems associated with Malaria and also talk about their efficacy. Consult the table below to see how to best answer these questions. Follow the rows of the table in order, each provides a basic answer structure: name the solution; describe it in detail; evaluate its efficacy.




Primary Health Care – Bare foot doctors.

These are commonly used in Cambodia today – over 3000 on the border with Thailand. Simple training and mobility mean treatment can reach areas of need. Often only simple medical supplies are carried but by treating the condition at the site care can often be preventative rather than restorative.

A great tool to fight malaria as these people can:

  • go to the area in need
  • speak the local language
  • understand local custom
  • can give on the spot diagnosis
  • can reach inaccessible areas
  • are cheap to train
  • Can pass on their knowledge to remote communities.

Anti-Malarial Drugs

Such as Lariam and Artemix. These are expensive to supply and Malaria gains a resistance over time. No preventative vaccine yet exists.

Very effective for curing the disease however prohibitively expensive and must be supplied to the remotest areas. Not a long term solution.

Mosquito nets

These are placed over the bed when asleep to stop the mosquitoes. They can be impregnated with insecticide such as DDT or Malathion. They cost around $5 to make (Bill and Miranda Gates Foundation 2013)

These are highly effective as they are:

  • so cheap
  • easy to fix
  • easy to install
  • can be explained  to large groups at one time
  • are used at night and at dusk when the flies feed the most
  • Can provide safe play areas for young children.


Such as Malathion and DDT. These are cheap to mass produce and relatively safe for humans. They are sprayed onto fields, villages, into houses and shaded areas.

These are effective as they are so easy to use and cheap to supply however there are serious concerns over the environmental impact of the sprays. Birds’ eggs are thinned by the chemicals.

Letting down water from dams

This technique flushes the larvae out of river beds.

This is a waste of water in water poor areas.

Putting fish in Padi fields

In Cambodia fish in Padi fields eat the larvae.

This not only stops mosquitoes breeding but also provides a food source for local people.

Spraying mustard seeds on water

These seeds grown and cover the water surface drowning/suffocating the larvae.

Cheap and easy to do and also provides an additional source of food for local people.

Draining areas of stagnant water

This works by removing the breeding grounds for the Mosquitoes. Anything from a tin to a tyre will gather and hold water.

This is impractical as it will only rain again, furthermore mosquitoes can breed in a coke can – it’s impossible to get every bit of still water.

Planting Eucalyptus Trees

These trees are particularly water hungry so soak up excess water

Trees are slow to grow and also provide shade so this actually encourages the mosquitoes.

Primary Health Care

You may be asked to explain how PHC strategies can improve conditions in LEDCs. Don't confuse this with the more specific questions on approaches to curing Malaria. Here's a possible model answer.

Providing frontline education to people allows them to be more aware of symptoms of disease resulting in early diagnosis. The Bill and Miranda Gates Foundation raises funds to deliver PHC treatment for diseases such as Malaria. WaterAid is a charity which raises funds and works to provide clean drinking water and sanitation. Providing pictoral instructions on symptoms of disease or for how to use mosquito nets means even illiterate people can be helped. An example of a treatment that uses this technique would also be Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) which helps overcome potential killers such as diahorrea.