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Within the political sphere, policy decisions are critical in analyzing the promotion of health as it tremendously affects health outcomes. This is due to numerous policies based on housing, education, transportation, income, employment, social help, and other influences that are known as the social determinants of health. The test is to perceive what the impacts are on these determinants, upon what groups, when they happen, how they influence some more than others, etc. The differentiation between the concept of health education and health promotion is essential when determining transformations throughout health. Health education refers to certain steps that are needed in order to “educate” citizens on healthy living, i.e. what is healthy, not healthy, etc. Health promotion rather, is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health (Canadian Public Health Association, 1996). Health Promotion goes beyond education in considering means to construct a course of action to then make healthier choices and focuses on communities instead of an individual.
Political Science deals with theory and practice of politics, as well as the analysis of political systems, behaviour and culture. Policy is a significant division within Politics that allows certain governmental powers to provide health transformations. This particular discipline contributes to building and reconstructing healthy public policy. Health promotion draws on an explicit values base that protects the individual with the common good being prioritized. The common good is also considered heavily throughout the political realm, especially within democracy and political decisions. As liberty is given to the citizens of the nation, rights are promoted with the goal to benefit the interests of all. Participation is supported in policy decision-making to identify what constitutes the common good (Canadian Public Health Association, 1996). As a part of health promotion, participation is needed to coordinate, provide change and also is an important factor within a democratic nation. Participation within communities is needed to guide decision-making in order to administer innovation and diversity.
As a part of health promotion, priority is given to people whose living conditions, especially a lack of wealth and power, place them at greater risk. A government is necessary to implement guidelines that allow people to live a better and healthier life but without social justice prevailing inequalities can occur. Social justice is promoted throughout the state and rules of the law, in which similar to health promotion requires a long-term perspective. It takes time to create awareness and build understanding of health determinants as a part of strengthening communities. Providing funding that supports mutual aid and self-help networks, community groups acting to nurture citizenship to maintain a sense of community, sustain the environment and foster healthy living conditions is a health promotion principle in which political science is involved with (Canadian Public Health Association, 1996). A governmental funding program, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers financial assistance to assist in the repair, rehabilitation and improvement of existing shelters and assists in the acquisition or construction of new shelters and second-stage housing for victims of family violence (Charity Village, 2018). As health promotion is multisectoral, little can be done to change unhealthy living conditions and improve life-styles without the support of other people, organizations and policy sectors (Public Health Association, 1996). Policy sectors and organizations are present in political sciences to aid people and offer support. Health promotion also draws on knowledge from a variety of sources, it depends on formal knowledge from the social, economic, political, medical and environmental sciences. Political Science contributes to health as a way to set rules and regulations to follow to avoid certain implications that can have harmful effects on health promotion. On-going concern for implications economic inequality, poverty, and health inequalities has been, and continues to be sporadic (Raphael, 2000). Raphael (2000) mentions strong Canadian municipal involvement in community social service provision. This sector is now actively identifying the key elements of Canadian social infrastructure that support health. Political actors that involve governmental organizations play a role in protecting and promoting health along with other disciplines such as medicine as it is one of the most important actors in keeping citizens healthy and alive. The Government of Canada (2013) shows strong and growing evidence that higher social and economic status is associated with better health. In fact, these two factors seem to be the most important determinants of health. Health status enhances through the progression of a high salary and social chain of command. A well divided income decides living conditions, for example, proper housing and a capacity to purchase adequate nourishment. The healthiest populations are those in social orders which are prosperous and have an impartial circulation of wealth. Political Science is responsible and often thought about when explaining this type of wealth through economic powers and the distribution of goods and services. The government is available for certain services such as welfare, which is intended to provide the basic needs for individuals and families who have exhausted all other means of financial support. Over the years provincial and territorial welfare programs have defined a general classification of clients, including employable persons, single-parent families, persons with disabilities, persons with multiple barriers to employment, and aged persons (Government of Canada, 2013). Applicants are to comply with a set of rules and go through a multi-step process to identify eligibility. Political institutions such as, governmental powers fund health care at the provincial and territorial level via taxation from personal and corporate taxes. One of the forefronts of debate in Canadian politics is its health care system due to federal involvement, private institutions, and the shortages of doctors and nurses in Canada. The provincial government is responsible for administering, but friction is apparent when federal government altercate the powers. Although private healthcare is offered through privately funded clinics, the arguments are that a “two-tier” health care system will unbalance the system and favor those with higher incomes (Canadian Health Care, 2007). Many Canadians also advocate that its health care system does not adequately compensate health care providers. This has led to a “brain drain” of Canadian doctors and nurses, which have left Canada to pursue careers in the United States (Canadian Health Care, 2007). Political members within governmental institutions responsible for health, have made a priority to attract and keep skilled medical workers in order to implement proper medical services across Canada. Advocating for health promotion involves the collective work of not only the political discipline, but also within medical, social, environmental, criminological and disabilities disciplines as well. The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986) calls on the World Health Organization and other international organizations to advocate the promotion of health in all appropriate forums and to support countries in setting up strategies and programs for health promotion. The Conference argues that if all types of institutions such as nongovernmental and voluntary organizations, federal and provincial governments, the World Health Organization and all other bodies who believe in the transformation of health join forces in introducing strategies for health promotion. By doing so, “health for all” can be achieved as products and services that make it easier for citizens and community organizations to successfully come together and engage in community change efforts (Maibach, Abroms & Marosits, 2007). With the consideration of the following regarding health promotion collective efficacy is an important factor to maintain the detriments and implications of health.
- Canadian Health Care. (2007). Canadian Health Care: Health Care and Politics. Retrieved from http://www.canadian-healthcare.org/page10.html
- Canadian Public Health Association. (1996). Action statement for health promotion in Canada | Canadian Public Health Association. Retrieved from https://www.cpha.ca/action-statement-health- promotion-canada
- Charity Village. (2018). Government Funding Programs. Retrieved from https://charityvillage.com/cms/knowledge-centre/fundraising/funder-directory/government-funding-programs
- Government of Canada. (2013). Chapter 1: What is Welfare? – Canada.ca. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-evelopment/programs/communities/reports/welfare-income-2009/chapter1.html
- Government of Canada. (2013). What Makes Canadians Healthy or Unhealthy? – Canada.ca. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/population-health/what-determines-health/what-makes-canadians-healthy-unhealthy.html
- Maibach, E., Abroms, L., & Marosits, M. (2007). Communication and marketing as tools to cultivate the public’s health: a proposed “people and places” framework. BMC Public Health, 7(1). doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-7-88
- Raphael, D. (2000). Health inequalities in Canada: current discourses and implications for public health action [pdf]. Toronto: Critical Public Health. Retrieved from http://www.omiss.ca/centre/pdf/raphael.pdf
- World Health Organization. (1986). The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/conferences/previous/ottawa/en/index3.html
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