Question

In order to improve the nation’s health and resolve disparities among its vulnerable populations, it is important to know the social/medical determinants as well as the potential points of intervention. Describe one social and one medical determinant that contribute to these disparities. Explain how social, medical, health care, and individual-level interventions can resolve these two detriments you identified.

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Answer #1

Health disparities are defined as the difference in the status of health between different groups of people. Some groups of people are more prone to a specific disease or disorder while other are immune to it. Determinants of health disparities include physical, social, economical, environmental factors.

One of the important social determinant of health disparity is poverty. Low income and poor financial status results in :

- inability to afford healthy and nutritious food

- inability to maintain adequate hygiene

- poor housing and sanitation

- inability access healthcare services

- inability to gain proper education and awareness

All these conditions affect the health status of poverty stricken people badly. They become more to diseases caused by poor hygiene and contaminated food like cholera, typhoid. They also do not have proper awareness on safe sexual practice and results in STDs, HIV, hepatitis.

Interventions : On individual level, a person should try to maintain proper hygienic conditions and proper sanitation. They should eat food that is healthy like vegetable and fruits. They should avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.

The government should strengthen programmes of nutritional assistance to poor, pregnant and children. They can reduce taxes on goods and services of basic health needs.

Healthcare industry should have a separate billing system for poor people to lessen the financial burden of disease. They can organize healthcare camps in areas with low financial status people to access their health status and provide appropriate interventions.   

Another determinant of health disparity is medical factor. The one of important major medical factor affecting health is genetics. Some of the diseases like heart disease, diabetes and hypercholesterolemia, hypertension are directly linked to genetic predisposition.

People should maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly, eat proper balanced diet, avoid smoking and alcohol use and discourage use of recreational drugs to reduce the risk of genetic susceptible diseases.

On social level, governmental and non governmental organizations should emphasise on healthy lifestyle, promote programmes with child obesity, increase taxes on food with high sodium and sugar contents. They should also strictly regulate distribution of tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs.

Healthcare organization should identify people with high genetic susceptibility of diseases through setting up medical camps. They should educate and spread awareness among population on importance eating healthy diet, exercise and maintaining an appropriate BMI.

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