Despite nations across the world seeking solutions to the international health care problems to ensure a universal access to health care, the unequal distribution of the ill health burden continues to affect the medical sector. The high cost of medical care, the increasing disease complexities, and the unequal distribution of wealth due to the varied degrees of determinants of health, are regular health care concerns (Baldwin, 2003).
Social and economic factors, physical and environmental issues, and individual characteristic factors are important determinants of health that sometimes determine health care equality. This essay analyses the unequal distribution of the health burden between nations and within populations, and focuses on the several determinants of health as the considerable factors that determine health outcomes.
Unequal Distribution of the Ill Health Burden between Nations
The distribution of ill health is disproportionate across the world because the severity of the health complications depends on several economic, social, and environmental aspects. Coupled with poverty and inadequacy of health care facilities, developing countries easily face health care dilemmas from simple disease outbreaks (Baldwin, 2003).
In the developed nations, only the chronic health care problems such as cancer, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Ebola, cause extreme fear. International health inequalities arise from the economic unfairness.
In countries with low economic stabilities, patients can easily contract simple communicable illnesses and die in the millions, because the local health care practitioners have limited expertise and health care facilities to avert the health care menaces (Bezruchka, 2010). Patients in the developed nations that have stabilized economies and competent health care workers, achieve superior health care outcomes.
While malaria is capable of causing millions of child mortalities in the developing nations due to the ineffective prenatal care and environmental issues, developed nations control this infection with ease (Bezruchka, 2010).
Communicable diseases tend to cause more fatalities than non-communicable diseases in the developing and the underdeveloped countries, because the levels of transmissions are sometimes unpreventable (Bezruchka, 2010).
Since the doctors in the developing and immature nations lack the resource capacity to control the easy transmission of the communicable diseases, fatalities arising from these communicable diseases are widespread.
According to Bezruchka (2010), lifestyle diseases disproportionately affect people in the stabilized economies, since their wealthy lifestyles such as alcoholism; predispose them to serious health complications such as diabetes, cancer, and heart attacks.
The Determinants of Health and Health Inequity
Social and Economic Factors
For healthcare to be fair, the aspects of social and economic equalities are paramount. Social justice is a determinant of health care in the sense that the health outcomes of individuals in a population remain determined by several social circumstances.
- Racial Discrimination- Racial prejudice can be a source of unfair access to health care and an unequal distribution of the ill health burden. In America, the segregated racial minorities face health care discrimination.
- Poor Housing- bad housing and poor housing conditions as significant social aspects predispose individuals to health risks that come with the health complication that prove difficult to handle due to poverty.
- Poor Sanitation- Sanitation as a social amenity is crucial in determining the health status of individuals. Poor sanitation causes poor hygiene and puts individuals at risks of contracting infectious diseases from bacteria and fungi.
- Limited Access to Nutritious Foods- Health of individuals relies on food, which provides the necessary energy and protection against diseases. Poor nutrition is a significant factor that contributes to ill health.
- Exposure to Health Risks- Poverty and unemployment predispose people to health risks and risky engagements. The poor people work within dilapidated workplaces, abuse drugs, and engage in crime.
- Poor Working Conditions- Poverty predisposes people to risky working environments. Underprivileged people often work in the contaminated areas, risky workplaces, and uncomfortable zones.
Braveman (2003) states that social stability frequently associate with the economic stability of individuals. As a determinant of health, financial stability of individuals influences their affordability of quality health care.
- Health care affordability– In America, 10-15 percent of the annual premature deaths are due to poor medical care, due to the limited health care affordability of the poor patients (Lachman, 2012).
- Insurance affordability– The economic ability of individuals to afford quality health care, hire competent health professionals, and afford health insurance cover, determine their access to health care (Braveman, 2003).
Physical and Environmental Factors
Health complexities are concerns that may arise from the physical and environmental factors, which are considerable determinants of health. According to Baldwin (2003), the physical environment of individuals may determine their health status or their health care outcomes.
- Sunny environment– People who reside in the sunny environments with high ultraviolet radiation due to the disrupted ozone layer, are prone to skin cancer, brain cancer, visual complications, and birth abnormalities, (Baldwin, 2003).
- Tropical areas– People who live in the tropical areas with high humidity, often contract tropical diseases such as the Arbo-viruses, malaria, influenza, polio, dengue fever, yellow fever, tuberculosis, and cholera, among others.
- Deprived areas– Due to their economic dispossession, the underprivileged citizens tend to associate with the hazardous physical environments that predispose them to serious health risks (Baldwin, 2003).
- Risky workplace environments– People who remain frequently exposed to the industrial pollutants, risky working environments, and adverse atmosphere, are prone to health complications.
Health inequalities also depend on the individual risk factors, which determine the susceptibility of an individual to contract a disease and survive a treatment (Evans, Shim, & Ioannidis, 2014).
- Violent behaviors-Involvement in violence results in bodily injuries that pose serious health complications for the involved individuals. Violent individuals engage in criminal activities and often experience health complications.
- Drug abuse behaviors– Drug abuse is harmful to the human health. Alcoholic individuals and cigarette smokers easily contract tuberculosis or develop diabetes due to drug abuse behaviors.
- Genetic issues– People with damaged immune systems, certain biological deficiencies, and weak immunities, are often at higher risks of contracting communicable diseases than others.
- Age of individuals– Certain diseases affect infants, others affect the youngsters, others are predominant in youths, some affect women at the premenopausal stage, while others affect the elderly people.
- Genders of individuals- Some diseases affect women and men differently and their severity is different. Diseases such as those that affect the reproductive systems are different between genders.
To reduce the concerns relating to the unequal distribution of the ill health burden, countries should consider a number of remedial strategies that would avert health care disparities.
- Public health insurance– economic disparity is the source of health care inequality and with a comprehensive health insurance cover among the underprivileged citizens, the burden of ill health will remain equally distributed (Evans et al., 2014).
- Employment– health care affordability is currently reliant on the financial stability of the individuals within nations, and with an increased employment, citizens can easily afford high quality health care.
- Health care infrastructure– the adequacy of health care resources such as hospital facilities and infrastructure is an important factor in ensuring that citizens access health care fairly (Evans et al., 2014).
- Global health care research– nations should focus on increasing their resources towards the health care research to determine the differences between health care determinants and the manner in which the ill health burden varies between nations.
The distribution of ill health burden is undeniably disproportionate depending on the several determinants of health that determine the quality of care that patients receive. Developed nations are capable of funding their health care sectors adequately to avert the health care complications and concerns regardless of their severity.
Underdeveloped and developing nations have economic deficiencies that bar them from financing their health care departments effectively. This makes the ill health burden remain unequally distributed among the socioeconomic classes.
From an independent perspective, disparities in the determinants of health such as social and economic differences, environmental differences, and individual characteristic differences are inequality concerns. To ensure equitable access to quality health care, governments should improve the public health insurance programs, provide employment to the underprivileged, and develop health care infrastructure.
The imbalanced distribution of the ill health burden seems to result from the inequities in the levels of the determinants of health. The unequal distribution of the burden of ill health between nations and among populations is prevalent due to the unfair distribution of wealth, social justice, and environmental conditions.
Stabilized countries have well-financed health care systems with competent professionals who are capable of averting both the simple and the complex health problems that affect citizens in their nations. However, the underdeveloped and the developing nations seem economically deprived, and their ability to boost their health care departments actually seems limited.
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Braveman, P., & Gruskin, S. (2003). Theory and methods: Defining equity in health. J Epidemiol Community Health, 57(1), 254-258.
Evans, J., Shim, J., & Ioannidis, J. (2014). Attention to Local Health Burden and the Global Disparity of Health Research. PLOS one, 9(4),
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