Praga Północ is one of the poorest district of Warsaw. This is the area that was not completely destroyed during second World War. That is why there are a lot of old buildings and it has its own special atmosphere. It is situated next to the centre of the city, on the left site of the Vistula river. A lot of investments were planned for this district and Polish National Stadium was built exactly there.
However, since years there is the highest crime rate and unemployment rate there. In the report concerning health of Warsaw habitants we can notice that in other, reacher districts like Wilanów or Ursynów the average life expectancy is 15 years longer than in Praga Północ. The co‑creator of the report, dr. Bogdan Wojtyniak explains, that it is difficult to say why it is like that. The difference of the average life expectancy in different districts of the city is huge. Women in Praga live 4 years shorter than in Warsaw in average. Men live even 8 years shorter.
We can speculate about the reasons of that, but there is no data on this topic. Such discrepancies are observed in different districts of metropolises all around the world. This is the specificity of metropolitan cities like London or Glasgow. Americans were the first who pointed out this problem. They took a deeper look at their poverty ghettos in which minorities live. It turned out that their health is in really bad condition.
There can be a lot of factors. According to Marc Lalonde, Minister of National Health and Welfare, the lifestyle significantly affects the health of the population. Another important thing is education. Those two factors are definitely reasons of previously mentioned statistics. The poverty is seen on the streets of Praga Północ district. Old neglected buildings are only the background of the really serious problem. The majority of housing in poor condition, there is no basic amenities such as gas, hot water or central heating system. For many years, the Warsaw authorities did not take any actions regarding modernization. Poor families from communities affected by pathology were rehoused there from all over Warsaw. Current situation of the district is a direct result of that. Bad housing and demographic situation causes social problems with a number of negative effects. The most important are: poverty, pathologies such as: alcoholism, drug addiction, crime, domestic violence or unemployment and many others.
In my opinion the situation in Praga Północ is slowly improving. Due to Euro 2012 the neighbourhood of the National Stadium was renovated. There is a lot of Centres for Social Welfare that are helping people. Old Praga starts new life but supervision and special treatment of local authorities is necessary.
Angelika Ojdana, 988