Poverty can knock up to three years off your life

INEQUALITIES in Fermanagh society are affecting our health, according to a new report that shows alcohol, drugs and self-harm remain a scourge of many parts of our community. 
The Health Inequalities Annual Report 2018, recently published by the Department of Health, outlines the gaps in issues affect the most well off and most deprived areas of districts across the North. In Fermanagh and Omagh, the inequality gaps are stark in places. 
For example, female life expectancy has increased, or at least stayed the same, in almost all districts of the North, except in the Fermanagh and Omagh where it has declined. In the most deprived areas of the local district the average life span of a woman is now 79.9 years, less than the local average of 82.6 years. Male life expectancy in the most deprived local areas is 75.9 years, while the local average is 78.6 years.
 With regard substance abuse and self-harm, the report also shows wide gaps in the number of admissions between the most and least well off areas of the local district. The greatest of these was in alcohol related admissions, with a 91 percent gap between most affluent and most deprived areas. 
There four widest gaps after ‘alcohol related’ admissions with ‘alcohol specific’ admissions where there was a 74 percent gap, smoking during pregnancy at 69 percent, self-harm at 66 percent, and drug related at 60 percent. 
The report also stated gaps in circulatory admissions and lung cancer mortality rates had widened between the most well off and least well off areas of Fermanagh. 
Aidan  Ormsby from addiction service Solace, at the Arc Health Living Centre in Irvinestown, said we all need to look out for each other as a community, 
“With health inequalities it is people from the poorer backgrounds, from more deprived backgrounds, who use alcohol and drugs and have other addictions. It’s not exclusive to those areas, but it is one of the indicators shown in the report,” he said. 
“It’s very important at this time of the year to support each other. It’s very important to remember we’ll all part of one community. If you haven’t seen a friend or neighbour, just call into them to check everything is all right. To ask that question is very important, are you all right.”

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