Every child is special and deserves special care; especially when it comes to health care because the child’s body is sensitive and prone to infections and diseases. Health disparity is not a new phenomenon; people have been facing this for a number of reasons – racial, gender, ethnic, social status and the area they live in. The only fault that the child makes to deserve this disparity is to be born in a family that is facing prejudice and is stereotyped on one or more factors. This is extremely inhumane because a child’s life is measured and compared on the scale of these factors of stereotyping.
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However, with increasing progression in the world and rapidly increasing awareness and equality programs and campaigns, this disparity is reducing. In 2002, 68% of non-Hispanic black children were vaccinated in comparison to 78% of white non-Hispanic kids. Earlier, this disparity was very wide and diseases like measles, fever, hepatitis and influenza were common in children who were not being given equal attention (McKinnon J, 2000).
As usual, stereotyping and prejudice gets the better of all the human beings in the world. In a government or state hospital, where normally the cure and consultancy is done either free of cost or at a low cost, there are usually many patients waiting at the same time for a doctor’s attention. This is because they cannot afford to go to expensive hospitals where they will receive immediate care. Ideally, a doctor should deal with a case that is dire and grave and needs an immediate check-up and concern; that is, prioritize all cases (Hutchins, 2003).
However, instead of doing that here, the doctors are themselves prejudiced and biased when it comes to cases. For example, if the doctor is white, he would care about a white patient first even if the desperate need is for the other patient who is black. Such disparity is widely witnessed in gynecology cases – mothers whose babies are dying due to complications are not attended first if they are not of a race that is acceptable to the doctor. (Williams, 2003).
In privately owned hospitals, there is a bias of social classes. Even if the patient is willing to pay the fee of a doctor; if a certain patient has good contacts and sources and knows some influential person, he can easily get priority and extra care from the doctors and nurses. While if there is another patient who is an ordinary man, he is not attended to; because all the energies and attention are diverted towards the top-notch patients’ children. (Kepel, 2004).
There is a recent trend of judging people according to the places they live in; their background and their class are judged by the neighborhood and residential area. For example, if they come from Manhattan, they will not be given as much attention as somebody coming from the main New York City. Such discrimination results in nothing but children’s lives being sacrificed. (Marathon, 2004).
What we need to understand is that such things should not matter because at the end of the day, every human life is as precious as another one; whether a man is poor or rich, black or white. There have been many programs that have been launched for this purpose; their motive is to spread awareness and make the doctors realize what wrong they are doing and awaken their conscience. Hopefully, such pure-hearted people will make a difference in the future.
- Hutchins, S., Elimination of measles and of disparities in measles childhood vaccine coverage among racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States; 2004
- Keppel, K., Measuring progress in Healthy People 2010; 2004
- Marathon, Mary; Eliminating Disparities in Children’s Health Care Will Require Broad Quality Improvement Effort – Health Affairs Article: Federal Oversight, Increasing Public Coverage, Data Collection, and Workforce Diversity All Key Steps to Improve Care; 2004
- McKinnon J.; The black population 2000; Census 2000 brief; Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce; US Census Bureau; 2000
- Williams, D., Racial/ethnic discrimination and health: findings from community studies; Public Health; 2003