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MPH502-Introduction to Public Health (Module 4 CBT) - Essay Example

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Admitting the existence of health disparities among various groups of people, ‘Healthy People 2010’ stipulates stratified collection of data for certain specific criteria of health, life expectancy and quality of life among target population in terms of race, ethnicity,…
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MPH502-Introduction to Public Health (Module 4 CBT)
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Definition of ‘Health Disparities’ Admitting the existence of health disparities among various groups of people, ‘Healthy People stipulates stratified collection of data for certain specific criteria of health, life expectancy and quality of life among target population in terms of race, ethnicity, education and gender, wherever applicable. The document also unambiguously accepts that improvement of macro parameters even among specific groups does not per se eliminate disparities within the said group or within groups as a whole. Disparity is measured in terms of percentage deviation of chosen parameters from that of the ‘best’ group from all groups under study and is generally calculated in terms of adverse events wherever possible. Thus a higher percentage generally implies a comparatively more adverse situation.
Differences in health indicators of various ethnic and racial groups in the US
Health indicators for American Indian or Alaska Native Population were the best with regard to exposure to ozone, lowest number of deaths due to stroke and occurrence of hepatitis, diabetes, tuberculosis, gonorrhea and syphilis. But in areas as health insurance coverage among persons under age 65, new AIDS cases, infant deaths and deaths of persons aged 15 to 24 years the situation twice as worse as the best group.
Data are available for the combined Asian or Pacific Islander population reveal that the group has best rates in death due to cancer, injury and violence prevention and, maternal, infant, and child health. However, this group is twice as worse than the best group in HIV testing among tuberculosis patients aged 25 to 44 years and congenital syphilis.
The Hispanic population was the best in nutrition, tobacco use and injuries related to violence. But this group was twice as worst as the best group in health insurance coverage among persons under age 65 years, source of ongoing care, new AIDS cases and HIV infection deaths, new cases of tuberculosis, congenital syphilis and primary and secondary syphilis. (Midcourse Review: Healthy People 2010, 2007)
Potential causes for these observed differences
Though biologic and genetic characteristics of American Indian or Alaska Native Population, Asian or Pacific Islander population or Hispanic population do not provide any categorical indication, major health disparities are observed between these groups and the white, non-Hispanic population in the United States leading one to conclude that race and ethnicity do play a significant role in health indicator disparities.
Income and education, on the other hand are more ostensibly related to health indicator diversities. Generally, populations that are the poorest and least educated also have the worst health indicators. While higher education increases awareness about health and also an ability to earn more, increased income allows a person to avail of better health care, housing and safer neighborhoods.
Geographic location also might be one of the significant causes for these observed differences as rates of injury related deaths and deaths due to heart attacks, cancer, and diabetes are higher in rural areas that urban centers. This could be because timely access to emergency services and the availability of specialty care is limited in villages than in cities. (Healthy People 2010 , 2001)
Possible the ways to improve the health of under-served populations
Goal of Healthy People 2010 is to provide sufficient and relevant knowledge and adequate motivation and appropriate opportunities to people so that they are able to take informed decisions about their health. One of the most important requirements for fulfilling such an objective is unstinted cooperation of authorities, right from the community level to the highest level of Federal power structure, to increase unhindered access to high-quality health care, create healthy environments at all spheres of life and promote healthy behavior among individuals and communities.
The main reason for health disparities lies in inequality in income and education. Education and income are two sides of the same coin. If people do not have sufficient income it is not possible to provide higher education to their children who in turn are incapable of earning more as they are less educated. Income inequality has increased in United States over the past few decades and all the apparent gains of US health system, unfortunately, have mainly been lapped up by the more affluent groups. So, conscious efforts have to be made to provide education to all segments of the society and Government should mull financial and monetary measures to reduce the glaring inequality in income distribution.
There should be no regional, ethnic or religious bias or partiality among the agents promoting health awareness or providing health care while carrying out their responsibilities as United States can improve only as an entire nation and not in pockets of prosperity. (Healthy People 2010 , 2001)
References
Healthy People 2010 . (2001, January 30). A Systematic Approach to Health Improvement. Retrieved December 02, 2009, from Healthy People: http://www.healthypeople.gov/Document/HTML/uih/uih_2.htm
Midcourse Review: Healthy People 2010. (2007). Goal 2: Eliminate Health Disparities. Washington, D.C.: Department of Health and Human Services - USA. Read More
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