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Barriers to Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
The barriers to health promotion and disease prevention strategies can broadly be categorized into three main factors: demographic, cultural, and health care barriers. These barriers are contained in the umbrella of internal, interpersonal, and environmental challenges. This discussion will not view these broad barriers independently as most of the specific factors characterizing them are interrelated. This essay entwines these broad groups to bring forth individual factors that act as barriers in the success of the strategies that aim at improving health and disease prevention leading to health disparities.
Health disparities are termed as preventable differences in problem of disease, violence, injury, or opportunity to have better health as normally experienced by population that is socially disadvantaged. They result from such factors as environmental threats, educational inequalities, poverty, individual and behavior factors, and inadequate accession to health care. Health disparities can also result from education inequities (Stuart, 2008). Discontinuing with education is related to many health and social problems. Persons with low education standards are liable to suffer rather from health-related disorders like obesity and drug abuse than from the learned ones. Better educational standards are thought to be linked with long life and a high possibility of understanding basic information on health and measures to make reasonable health decisions that enables them to improve their life status. Furthermore, good health leads to academic success. Such risks as insufficient physical activity, poor food choices, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, and gang involvement negatively affect performance in school. Racial and ethnic disparities have been observed among persons with similar health insurance and within the same health plan (Fiscella, 2000). Careful research on the issue to confirm the truth behind these claims by the concerned governments especially in the U.S. is crucial to address ethnicity in health care settings. These efforts have been hindered by the shortage of adequate data on ethnicity and race in health care provision facilities. This leads to discrimination against the minorities in the provision of this compulsory human need.
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Some of the specific disparities in access to health care are: the lack of insurance coverage because without health insurance cover, sick people are bound to postpone or lack medical care, or sometimes lack prescription medicines. This negatively contributes to the spirit of provision of good medical care and the lack of a regular source of medical care where patients experience difficulty in obtaining medical services, due to scarcity of a reliable health centre; fewer visits to the doctor as well as a lack of prescription drugs.The lack of financial resources whereby patients cannot afford an efficient access and standard medical care thus leading to deterioration in personal health as most of them cannot afford standard services thus they opt for poor services.
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There are legal barriers that are obstacle to individuals’ rightful access to health cover schemes. For instance, the United States government does not offer medical coverage to immigrants who are less than five years in the country. Structural barriers include poor transportation that delays patients’ access to medical services; complex appointment procedures that lead to inconvenience and many hours of waiting in waiting rooms which frustrates a person’s willingness and ability to access medical care. The health care financing system in some countries may be biased upon certain groups especially the minority groups. Ethnic minorities are eligible to belong to insurance schemes that offer limited services and a limited number of health care providers.
Scarcity of providers like primary care practitioners, diagnostic facilities and specialists limits access to the inhabitants especially in rural areas and inner city. The limited access to health care facilities forces patients to purchase wrong prescriptions from lucrative medicine dealers disguised as professional chemists. Linguistic barriers occur when a language can be a barrier in accessing medical care as the doctor must understand the condition he/she is dealing with from the patient’s mouth, even before performing the initial tests. If the barriers prevail, the wrong prescription may be administered leading to a further deterioration in the health of an individual. Health literacy is also an important issue for consideration, for instance, a patient with poor understanding of basic health may not know when to seek medical attention for certain symptoms. This barrier is not limited to anyone thus it is important for the medical stakeholders to raise awareness on various disease symptoms and the right time to seek medical attention.
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The lack of ethics and diversity in health care workforce creates a situation whereby some health workers favor patients of their own diversity backgrounds over others. This leads to favoritism and discrimination of patients along ethnic or tribal lines. Another crucial barrier to quality health provision is age. This can be a factor for a number of reasons, for instance, older generations exist on fixed incomes that makes paying for health care difficult. Additionally, old people face health barriers associated with old age such as impaired mobility that impairs their access to health facilities for regular medical checkups. In addition, they may have difficulties accessing information on health care issues. Ignorance and distrust between patients and doctors especially related to prominent people who are always insecure about their well-being (Woolf, 2012). These personalities seek alternative medical care in advanced entities to an extent of ignoring local health care providers who in turn offer substandard services depending on the economic status of their patients.
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The beliefs and values that shape people’s behavior may affect their view on health care. Some belong to cultures of cigar and bang smokers and care less about their well-being in a bid to satisfy the cultural obligation required of them. Some cultures prohibit the use of industry-manufactured drugs and encourage the use of local herbs among their members.
In conclusion, I recommend that application of quality improvement efforts geared towards elimination of ethnic and racial disparities are dependent upon availability of credible data on ethnic and racial disparities. Reliable data can only be relayed if private sector and the government collaborate in data collection. This should then be followed by pilot projects aimed at demonstrating the importance of the data collected in improvement of quality in healthcare. The main strategies that can be applied in promoting general medical services are: expanding the use of information technology, expanding the quality and value of care, rewarding performance of medical workers, organizing care and information around patients, encouraging collaboration and expanding medical insurance and making its coverage unbiased. People of all cultures should be treated in a way that affirms their worth and maintains their cultural dignity.