Global Health Author Institution I. Introduction Health equity relates to the “absence of systematic disparities in health between and within social groups that possess diverse levels of underpinning social advantages or disadvantages. Health equity details “when all people possess the opportunity to gain full health potential” and none is disadvantaged from attaining this position owing to their social position or other socially determined circumstance…
The global access to health has been impacted significantly by social and environmental factors that yield marked differences in health status (Collins 2003, p.97). As a result, the core focus centers on understanding and intervening within the underpinning causes of health inequity. The World Health Organization has outlined a number of indicators for health access, namely: life expectancy and mortality; health service coverage; selected infectious diseases; risk factors; health expenditure; health inequities; health information systems and data availability; and, demographic and socioeconomic statistics. The inequalities in global access to health do not only manifest between countries, but also within countries and closely associate with the level of social disadvantage (Gulliford & Morgan 2003, p.3). The Case for Health Disparities Health disparities remain broadly defined as variations in disease prevalence or treatment based on aspects such as sex, race, or ethnicity, income, education attainment, geographic location, or sexual orientation. Health disparities adversely impact on groups of people, who systematically encounter enhanced socio-economic impediments to health based on their racial/ethnic group, socioeconomic status, age, gender, sexual orientation, geographic location, gender identity, or other characteristics associated with discrimination or exclusion (Mullins, Blatt, Gbarayor, Yang, & Baquet 2005, p.1873). Globally, several efforts directed at highlighting and minimizing health disparities that have involved numerous agencies as they evaluate the countries’ march towards adoption of policy-driven and health-centred objectives. Despite the changes implemented over the last decades, health disparities around the world still exist, especially among the minority groups. The Journal of the American Medical Association highlights race as a critical determinant within the level of care, whereby ethnic minority groups frequently receive less intensive and lower care. Health disparities are also not pegged on race, ethnic, and cultural differences alone as such disparities remain also fuelled by the sexuality minority groups. Studies manifest that an individual’s sexual minority status may restrain access to health care. In some cases, the homosexuals, transgender groups, and bisexual population perpetually experience the diverse range of health access problems connected to their sexuality. The discrimination and minimized access to medical care, coupled with social and cultural experiences aggravate these problems (Collins 2003, p.98). In terms of gender, women in the U.S usually manifest better access to healthcare compared to men. This can be explained by the fact that women mainly have higher rates of health insurance and report enhanced likelihood to seek medical care. Although, gender and race play a critical role in explaining healthcare inequality within the U.S., socioeconomic status bears the greatest determining factor in shaping an individual’s level of access to healthcare. Indeed, socio-economic differences manifest between racial groups and impacts on the health status of the groups (Bravemen 2006, p.167). Overall, the reasons for disparities in healthcare access are numerous, but can encompass lack of insurance coverage; lack of ...
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