The Impact of Education, Economics and Culture on Health Care
- Pages: 6
- Word count: 1457
- Category: Survival
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The three factors that are contributing to the health challenges of the countries are education, economics, and culture. Each of these factors play a large role in the countries. Better education means better health and poor education leads to poorer health. Without economics, there would be no resources and the distribution of wealth through communities may be inequitable. Cultural factors play an important role because some cultures may view disease differently and have different ways of treatment.
Better education means better health. The more knowledge a person conceives about their own health, the more willing and likely they will take care of it. People who are well educated land high paying jobs that provide health insurance or paid leave (Center on Society and Health, 2015). Furthermore, they are likely to work jobs with a fixed schedule so they have time to exercise, shop at organic grocery stores, and have money for those items on top of transportation. Public schools like in the United States teach about health early on from elementary school up until even college. The fast food markets work hard but the nutrition market works harder. There is constant advertisement to encourage consumers to eat organic foods and to maintain healthy weight to avoid chronic diseases. Children are taught about how to take care of their body to live a healthy, fruitful life. Since children are trained at such a young age, they can continue those habits throughout adulthood. Physicians constantly educate their patients about what they could change in their diet or physical activeness to help them live healthy. According to “The Effects of Education on Health” (n.d.), “those who have 4 more years of education lowers 5-year mortality rates by 1.8%”. A small rate but could make a huge difference in those low income countries. Furthermore, education helps develop “cognitive skills, problem solving abilities, and self-efficacy” which are all linked to having good health.
In Malawi, there is health education ran by the government and they teach child survival, AIDS prevention, reproductive health, nutrition, and safe motherhood (Bandawe, 2009). They indeed teach health education in the school setting but there is unfortunately a high drop out rate (Bandawe, 2009). Some barriers Bandawe claims are: “the planning process of interventions, communication failure, organization failure in delivery of services, and evaluation process and translation of research findings” (2009). The low amount of education being communicated to children and adults is concerning as if they are not taught well from the beginning, it is hard to develop healthy habits later. Furthermore, in a study by UNICEF, there is low teacher attendance rate and lack of learning materials. The health education is detailed and is informative but if it is not being taught, people cannot learn. This is one of the factors that leads to poor health in their country. For Vietnam, an article by Hinh & Minh (2013), stated that life expectancy is high, mortality rates are low and malnutrition has also fallen. An improved health care delivery system and expansion of public health programs were the contributors to those improved rates (Hinh & Minh, 2013).
Although their health system has improved over time, there is still a rise in non-communicable diseases and infectious diseases. Smoking and alcohol misuse is still a big problem in that country. Based on evidence, there needs to be prevention programs that are taught by health staff or program managers to increase overall health status. Prevention is what they need the most and it needs to be put into an educational program that can be taught to everyone. The lack of education on non-communicable diseases is alarming and preventive services can decrease those alarming rates. In Samoa, the literacy rate is high because they spend millions on their education system. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2017) states that they are preparing children early on so that they are ready for school when the times comes. Furthermore, their national policy on health is wanting everyone to be able to have control over their health and well-being. Having a strong understanding of eating healthy, exercising regularly, and decrease risk behaviors is all a part of education. Clearly, health and education are important factors in Samoa. It is still interesting to note that they heavily emphasize health in their country. Interestingly, they still fall behind Vietnam in some aspects—which can be caused by other factors such as environmental or social.
Canada arguably has a better health care system than the United States. A finding from Perin (1998) states that low literacy levels have a negative impact on health. Low literacy rates means people are less willing to read anything such as nutrition labels or medication. Canada puts a strong emphasis on education much like the United States. They believe that level of education is a social determinant of health (Shankar, Khalema, Couture, Tan, Zulla, R., & Lam, 2013, p. 3908). Also, they want to teach the youth with teachers being the facilitators for good health. They are constantly improving their educational systems. Clearly, with high education, people are more informed about how to take care of themselves and it is evident in their health indicator rates.
Another factor that leads to the disparities among the countries are economic factors. Economics affects health outcomes because if the economic state of a country is low, then unhealthy behaviors are more evident (How Social and Economic Factors Affect Health, 2013). Economics affect education, employment, income, family and social support, and community safety.
All these are health factors which in turn affects health outcomes and programs/policies. Furthermore, if people have economic hardships, it is difficult for them to attain things necessarily to maintain their health. In Malawi, economic growth has slowed with inflation on the rise. There is shortage of major drugs against malaria and other antibiotics along with problems with transporting patients to hospitals (UNICEF, 2012). Furthermore, there is also low satisfaction on the quality of health services. Water is still not accessible to those in the rural communities. In addition, sugar, salt, and cooking oils have increased in price in many communities (UNICEF, 2012). The scarcity of resources leads to the poor health of the people in Malawi– their basic needs are unmet. In Vietnam, the quality and availability of healthcare is poor in the rural communities. There are private and public hospitals but the private ones have better standard quality of care (Healthcare in Vietnam, n.d.). Many people in Vietnam are still poor and cannot afford private hospital since there is no national health insurance plan. Luckily, pharmacies are well stocked especially in the big cities so medicine is easily accessible. Vietnam also only spends 6.6% of their GDP in 2012 towards health care expenditures (Cheng, 2014).
However, they do have more resources and an organized health system than Malawi. As a result, their health status is not at its best but it works. For Samoa, they spend about 7.2% of their GDP on health (World Health Organization, 2018). The funds are used by hospitals (private and public), health workers, health care goods for the home, and programs such as disease control or immunization (Samoa National Health Accounts, 2002). They have more health services and again, their national policy emphasizes health promotion. The economic status of Samoa is high and they do spend more on their health care system than Vietnam and Malawi. Their health care system is structured and well-organized in redistributing funds needed for health resources. Thus, this is why Samoa has better health than the other two in some aspects. Some because Vietnam still has better rates in life expectancy, infant mortality rate, and total fertility rate. The reason may be due to their lifestyle and diet. Fast food, smoking, alcohol, and physical inactivity are major factors that contribute to their poor health still (Samoa National Health Accounts, 2002).
In Canada, they spend $228 billion on health care in 2016 which is 11.1% of Canada’s entire GDP (Warnica, 2017). The Conference Board of Canada (2013) states that “economic considerations affects Canadians’ health and the health care system”. Poor health impacts productivity and individual earnings negatively. Low economic productivity leads to a reduction in the tax base that funds the health care system (Conference Board of Canada, 2013). They have universal health care called Medicare that takes care majority of its citizens. Their funding pays for physicians, hospital services (prevent disease, treat injury, maintain health), prescription drugs, dental care, optometric services, chiropractic services, and ambulance services, etc (The costs and performance of Canada’s health system, n.d.). Clearly, Canada spends a lot and it shows because their health indicators rates are a lot better than Malawi, Vietnam, and Samoa. They are able to provide a lot of resources to their citizens which in turns, creates positive health and economic growth.