The social determinants of a healthy society include the following:
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- Physical environment. It involves the distribution and availability of natural resources and geographical regions. A successful physical environment consists of enough and accessible natural resources that are equally distributed amongst the occupants. The equitable distribution of natural resources is a key factor in the prevention of conflicts that arise from competition for limited resources. Society’s geographical region is another health critical factor. It defines the number of resources being occupied by society and the political tension with other neighboring societies. It also defines the social and cultural development of a society. For instance, the Irish potato famine that occurred in Ireland was purely based on poor geographical regions. During the industrial revolution, Ireland had no sufficient resources to initiate development. Due to full dependence on agriculture, the country became vulnerable to serious famine in the event of a slight output drop. The limited social, political and technological development was mainly due to a lack of resources. This proves that the physical environment is vital for a healthy society.
- Social environment. It involves cultural influences, employment, social networks, social services, social infrastructure and other social necessities. A powerful social infrastructure normally compensates for inadequate physical advantage (insufficient resourceful landscape). A good social environment has enough social resources that support social networks, equitable share of power, education emphasis and employment assurance. For instance, Canada is a society fully equipped with social resources that support equitable distribution of health care systems, education programs and monetary resources. This has enabled its citizens to live above the poverty line. Therefore, a resourceful social environment is a key factor in a nation’s social health.
- Education is also another determinant of a healthy society. Just like a resourceful social and physical environment, education creates awareness and contributes to rising in literacy. It contributes to technological advancements that can be used to enhance safety, health and social stability. Technology also boosts economical capital which ca be used to acquire more social and natural resources for social welfare and health.
- In summary, the social determinants of a healthy society are those that improve the living conditions and ensure equal distribution of power, money and other resources. Peace, access to clean water and an adequate supply of food is also vital. The existence of a democratic and fair governance system with fair police forces and freedom of speech/press also contributes to a healthy society. Lastly, there should be enough and accessible medical facilities with appropriate medical services for healthy living.
The case shows Mpofu’s poor physical environment. The best solution for Mpofu’s family is to make use of opportunities available (such as NGOs) to improve current living conditions and initiate reforms in the location. There is also a need for him to better his social environment in order to realize a positive change in his life. This can only be possible through interventions from NGOs (WHO) and the government to improve social support networks and services to enhance living conditions. More so, there is a need to enhance peace in his environment by imposing social safety measures to make him immune to conflicts following his position in the physical environment. There is also a need to educate and make him understand the importance of raising children and other daily health practices.
Global citizens can support the above initiatives through monetary donations and physical/emotional/psychological involvement in the change process. They can also reduce their use of resources to preserve some for the less fortunate communities. Through technological advancements, global citizens can offer knowledge and experience by initiating new ideas and values for change.
It is a requirement for global citizens to offer help in such situations for the well-being of other people in our global social world.