Many similarities and differences are present among low-income populations in Pomona, California, as well as post-tsunami populations in Sri Lanka. These populations often live in close proximity to one another and may have a similar lack of access to health care. According to earlier studies, common health problems in low-income populations in the US are skin and respiratory conditions, but it is unclear whether these conditions dominate in post-disaster populations. In July 2005, we collected data from 263 tsunami victims in Sri Lanka and compared the health issues to data taken from 135 patients who attended Pomona Community Health Action Team clinics between September 2003 and January 2004. Diagnoses of the perspective populations were divided by organ system and 12 categories of illnesses. Statistical findings showed that the number of people who have dermatological and respiratory conditions are significantly higher in Sri Lanka than in Pomona. A possible explanation for these findings would be the role of the tropical climate of Sri Lanka. Though it is limited, access to medical care, improved hygienic conditions, and proper housing in Pomona is still considerably higher than in Sri Lanka. These factors could play a role in the health disparities between these two similar communities.
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