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Public Health Inequality: Cognitive Discussion and Reflection - Essay Example

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This assignment will discuss public health inequalities in terms of old and contemporary explanations of its causes based on available literature and then proceed to a reflective exploration of my feelings towards the issue of public health inequality basing on DEADACRE. …
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Public Health Inequality: Cognitive Discussion and Reflection
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Public Health Inequality: Cognitive Discussion and Reflection

Cognitive Discussion on Public Health Inequality The term public health has been defined in various ways taking into consideration the different aspects of it. Turnock (2009, p. 9) defines public health as the fulfilling of society’s interest in assuring conditions in which people can be healthy. Hence, public health concerns all the different dynamics that influence health, besides drawing attention to the social, economic and political factors that affect health. It is in this concept of public health that the issue of public health inequality arises. Farrell, McAvoy and Wilde (2007, pp. 12) state that health inequalities are a breach to human right, concurring with Hunt (2003, pp. 603-607) who argues that individuals have a right to the highest attainable standard of health, and when such is available to one section of society only then a breach to human rights occurs. Hunt and Backman (2008, pp. 40) also categorically state that heath is a fundamental human right central in exercising other rights. Public health inequality is of interest as an area of study because from the definition of public health it can be seen to be one of the basic things that public health systems around the world seek to address. According to Orton et al. (2011, pp. 2-5) it has been demonstrated that the most important determinants of inequalities in the health system in many countries are social determinants. Marmot et al (2010) concur, stating that health inequalities arise from social inequalities, besides strongly arguing that health inequalities concern fairness and social justice and identifying a social gradient in health where low social position translate to poorer health. Bartley (2004, p. 9) reviews the explanations from early public health research as to why public health inequalities exist and persist in society. The first reason put forward from research is a material interpretation where the low income from various sections of the society is the cause of their health disposition and by extension, the health conditions gap from other sections of the society. A cultural-behavioural explanation claims that certain lifestyles among the less privileged sections of the society promote health deterioration such as smoking and unhealthy diets. The third explanation is selection where people with poor health in their childhood would end up in less privileged social classes, where the pattern of being at the lower spectrum of the health system would continue. Bartley (2004, p. 12) then proceeds to review the contemporary explanations. The psychosocial model focuses on the effects of stressful conditions either at work, home or due to a low social status. It has been demonstrated from research that societies in which there are huge differences between the incomes of the rich and the poor experience less health inequalities as compared to societies with greater income gaps. The explanation behind this is that in such societies, the social relationships in the population are more favorable for health conditions than where incomes tend towards inequality. The life-course approach explains that chances for good and poor health are influenced by prenatal and neonatal factors. The neomaterialist explanation argues that countries in which the gap between the poor and the rich are smaller exhibit tendency towards generosity to the less fortunate, alongside better public health, education and transport systems. Reflection on Public Health Inequality The information from literature on public health inequalities evoke personal interest and reflective critique which I can analyse appropriately through the DEADACRE framework. To begin with the description of how I feel, the issue of public health ine ... Read More
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