This assignment is a reflection of team work in the first enquiry. This assignment is going to discuss the concepts of health, my beliefs about health and illness, and how the unit may have altered my views on health.
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‘Health’ as a concepts means different to different people. Some believe health as a state of being free from disease but some believe that this definition is limited. It is so hard to define health. There is no any universal definition of health (Taylor, 2008- p5frog). So health is a dynamic concepts and complex whose definition varies with the context in which the term is used. There are various prospective to understand health. Health can be understood on biological approach, biomedical approach, behavioural approach, spiritual approach, health education approach, public health approach and many more. Biological approach explores the role of genes. Biomedical approach looks health and illness in terms of pathology of individual. Behavioural approach promotion of health that focus on risk factors and lifestyle behaviour. Public health approach stress on reducing disease prevalence rate and prevention of non-communicable disease (Keleher and MacDougall, 2008- p5 cactus). However, health can be culturally understood differently to Indigenous Australian and differently to western countries and non- western countries. For instance, Indigenous believe that notion of health and well-being related to family, community and connectedness to traditional land. They rather ignore individual as a separate entity (Taylor, 2008- p6frog). According to Keleher and MacDougall (2008), “…understanding health is built upon broad notions of health that recognise the range of social, economical, and environmental factors that contribute to health” (p. 6-7 cactus). It seems that people are the focal point to derive the proper concepts of health. Keleher and MacDougall (2008-p6 cactus) argue that people’s prospective is the major steps to understand the health. Many studies show that health is related to state of wellbeing and illness. Western cultural countries like Australia also believe that health is the absence of diseases or pathogens in an individual (Taylor, 2008 p 10frog).
Different people think health in different ways. Sandra Taylor (200 8 p6 frog) argues that meaning of health is influenced by socio-cultural factors like gender, age, ethnicity and also culture. Number of studies show that men and women have different ratio to seek health information. Sandra Taylor claims that female are proactive than man to seek health information (p.6). Beside this demography is a consistent factor influencing health of individual. Sandra Taylor argues that people living in rural area associate health and wellbeing as more productive, experienced better health care and able to get health services in time (P-7).
I am from very remote and isolated town. I have experienced the important of health. I believe that health is a wealth that an individual earn in life. Without the sound health it is hard to perform life sustaining activities like job, physical activities and much more other things.
Socio-Culture affects the beliefs of people. There are strong religious thoughts and practice to cure illness and analyse heath issues. I born in Hindu family and being a Hindu family, one has different ways to treat the disease or illness. People believed that illness use to be due to wrong work done upon spirit. There are number of places in Asia where still people believe on “god of spirit” for the family and community welfare. God or goddess was worship when a person gets sick. Only few people living in and around the town areas could get heath measures. But many people passed away without seeing a single hospital bed. Though, people used to take patients to hospital, at the last hours only after a person with supernormal skills give-up, and the patients die before reaching to the hospital. So, in this contexts, health meant different to those lived with me and to the others lived in and around the town. This was the understanding of health when I was in Bhutan and also in Refugee camp in Nepal.
It has been claimed that;
“All of these variables have an impact on patients’ health care usage. General practitioners need to be aware of the individualism of their patients, and recognise that predisposing culture and beliefs may influence the management of patients in general practice” (Ten & Wett, 1998. p 773).
I believe health is also influences by behaviour also. Cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of physical exercise and many other day to day activities could accelerate the health problems. Health studies show that lung cancer is the effect of smoking (Taylor, 2010), asthma cause by smoking and environmental pollutant (Dawbin and Roger, 2008), diabetes type-2, obesity, are cause by the lack of physical activities, food habit, and junk food consumption. All the above mentioned causes are practiced first and felt in the trouble with diseases and illness. People could change this behaviour and standardised their lifestyle if they really think about it. For instance, smoking behaviour could be reduced and physical activities could be increased to avoid asthma or lung cancer.
Financial condition influences the heath. For instance, to receive appropriate health services or medications, a person had to have a good amount in hand. It still exists in many parts of the world. I have had an experience of visiting traditional herbalist when I was sick in Bhutan instead of treatment in hospital. It was free in my country because of big forest where we get herbs. It was hard to get General Practitioner (GP) and consult about the issues surgical operation and organ transplantation in those places. One had to keep whole land in mortgage to visit doctor in India or Bangladesh.
Illness is the condition of health.
Richard; Cumming, Robert; Woodward, Alistair and Black, Megan . Passive smoking and lung cancer: a cumulative meta-analysis. [Online]. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, v.25, no.3, June 2001: 203-211. Retrieved on 24 Apr10 from http://0-search.informit.com.au.alpha2.latrobe.edu.au/fullText;dn=200111944;res=APAFT> ISSN: 1326-0200.
Dawbin, D., & Rogers, A.(2008). Age Care in Australia; Common Health Conditions, pp 147. Press: Ligare Pty., Riverwood NSW2210
Ten, V., & Wett, L. (2010). Caring for the Chinese patient in general practice. Australian Family Physician. Australian Family Physician v.27 no.9 Sept 1998: 773-775. Retrieved on April 24, 2010 from http://0-search.informit.com.au.alpha2.latrobe.edu.au/search;rs=4;rec=1;action=showCompleteRec
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This is my reflective thoughts on health issues. This reflection is based on the learning outcome that I have achieved and done oral and written presentation in the first enquiry. This reflection will help me to understand the concepts of health and strategies used in treating different diseases and viewed through different perspectives by individuals and social responses.
Concepts of human health have broad meanings and concepts. People have different thoughts and different connotation for health. Some believe health as a state of being free from any disease. For some health means having balance and stability in their lifestyle, for others it could be their capability in carrying out their responsibilities and also to remain fit and healthy (Taylor, 2008, p5). According to World Health Organisation (WHO, 1974) health is defined as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. However, this definition is criticised by many people due to its subjective nature and the problems in the definition of health. According to Sian Keane, health professionals must understand the concept of health from the perspective view of people with disabilities. She argues that health professionals must not focus on the narrow clinical aspects of illness and disability; rather it is best to accept these individuals as fully fit and capable of health within the context of their disability. She further says that health professionals often overlook the proper management and promotion of health for people with disability. They have wrong perceptions about their specific needs and their treatments. In fact, health promotion for people with disability is the same as appropriate with non-disable people (Keane, Disability; A guide for Health Professionals, (1996, p320). As such the concept of health is dynamic and complex whose definition varies with the context in which the term is used. In fact, the concept of health is rooted in the unique individual, family, social, cultural and geographical contexts in which the term is used; as such, it is said to be socially and culturally constructed (Taylor, p5).
Culture and ethnic background plays an important role in influencing concepts in understanding health, health related issues, illness, their beliefs and expectations of health services from health care providers. Understanding people’s belief and their needs are very important for the care givers or health professionals. The concept of health is well understood by the main-stream Australian society on the basis of illness and disease in individuals and the belief in biomedical approach and the absence of pathology in human body (Taylor, p5). Indigenous people and people from other cultures have different approaches or typical way of understanding of health and health related issues in relation to physical, mental, emotional and their possible causes and treatments. For example in our culture, we believe in our traditional medicine (Herbal or Ayurvedic medicine) extracted from medicinal plants to prevent or cure certain diseases. We also believe in homeopathy, an alternative form of medicine. Besides western biomedical treatments, traditional medicines are normally prescribed representing the co-existence of different cultural beliefs.
Health is understood by people in different perspectives through experience and influenced by different factors such as biological, psychological and social through complex interactions between different cultures. According to Taylor men and women in Australia have different approaches to health related issues, behaviours and exposure to risk factors. Women are more vulnerable to psychological stress than men but more positive in seeking first hand information regarding their health and actively take preventive measures. There are some other factors that impact on health of people according to their family history, their disposable income and experience. It also depends on their living standards and geographical locations.
As I come from different culture and place where we didn’t have access to basic health facilities so I always wondered what it would be to understand the whole setting. I lived in a refugee camp where I had spent more than eighteen years and I had seen people affected with different diseases both communicable and non-communicable. Most of them could not get medical help as there were no doctors or nurses available and lack of financial support on time so they were just left with no options but to seek help from local shaman to ward off evil spirits from their bodies. As most of the people were illiterate who didn’t understand and trust modern medicine and doctors, most of us did not know how it worked as there were no health promotion campaign and awareness of different diseases and their possible treatments. I have seen people afflicted with some of the worst kind of diseases and spent their whole miserable life without any help until they died. Most of the family members in the community just waited helplessly to end his or her life. I have seen some of my own friends, relatives and neighbours dying of diseases which were treatable only if they had access to medical facilities and medicines in time. For example I nearly died of typhoid, jaundice and cholera when I was in the refugee camp and on top of that I was malnourished and didn’t know that it is all due to unhygienic food, lack of clean drinking water and polluted environment. I relied on herbal medicines and animism form of worship, as there were no possible help to get treated with western medicines. As such the whole scenario has changed my understanding of health and treatment of different diseases through different means of settings. It is all possible to understand the concept of health by following the correct form of practising health and hygiene. Now we have been resettled here in Australia so we have access to medical facilities but still some of the elderly people in our community do not trust medicines prescribed by the practitioners.
Better health is central to human happiness and well-being. It also makes an important contribution to economic progress, as healthy populations live longer, are more productive, and save more.
Many factors influence health status and a country’s ability to provide quality health services for its people. Ministries of health are important actors, but so are other government departments, donor organizations, civil society groups and communities themselves. For example: investments in roads can improve access to health services; inflation targets can constrain health spending; and civil service reform can create opportunities – or limits – to hiring more health workers.
WHO’s work on ‘Health and development’ tries to make sense of these complex links. It is concerned with the impact of better health on development and poverty reduction, and conversely, with the impact of development policies on the achievement of health goals. In particular, it aims to build support across government for higher levels of investment in health, and to ensure that health is prioritized within overall economic and development plans. In this context, ‘health and development’ work supports health policies that respond to the needs of the poorest groups. WHO also works with donors to ensure that aid for health is adequate, effective and targeted at priority health problems.
This website provides an update on WHO activities in the area of health and development, including recent publications, reports of country work and information on training courses and capacity-building activities
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