Things generally influence one another even in small ways. The relationship among these matters can be just simple that have little impact on people. However, there are things which affect considerable number of individuals, a locality, a country or even the international community as well. Health is one of those things. A person, family, society, and nations are all involved when discussing this topic. There are factors that have direct and indirect effects which relate to planning, implementation and evaluation of healthcare mechanisms and interventions. These are the demographic distribution of populations, religious beliefs, political values, ethnicity, traditions, and human values.
New Zealand has a small population with an estimated resident of 4,531,400 as of 30 September 2014 (Statistics New Zealand). Data from the year 2013 show that males are greater from children to middle age but the female numbers are greater during the latter part of life. The median age is 37.4 years; population growth rate is 0.85 per cent; birth rate is almost double compare to death rate but is relative low. Migration rate is 2.24 in a thousand people. Infant mortality rate is low with only 4.65 in a thousand live births. Life expectancy is higher among women with 82.94 and men with 78.79 years. Literacy has a very high rate overall. Data related to health have generally positive trends.
Information like this is significant on how to make better intervention. The government has to scrutinize the details in order to give appropriate solutions to the issues, in relation particularly to the declining numbers of men during old age compare to women who live several years more. Programmes such as lifestyle modification and more education that improve the life span of men should be given more emphasis. Men are usually more exposed to health risks such as alcohol drinking, cigarette smoking and hazardous working environment. These can be attributed to the fast deterioration of health condition due to the accumulated damage on the body.
Political values are acquired by the people through “political socialisation”. It can be from the family first, then schools, friends, work, travel, life experiences and media such as televisions, radio, and social networking sites via the internet. The present situation is related to the history of a certain nation in terms of how they experienced it. New Zealand had the British concept and ideas from a long time and up until now. There were important changes as time went by. As of today, people are empowered that they are able to participate in policy making in relation to health. For instance, the legislations are being passed after the involvement of different sectors during formulation. Groups and organisations are being asked to impart their opinions regarding a specific policy which can affect their interests. So in this way, it can have impact on the health interventions being formulated by the authorities. The citizens are able to see the government as their protector that takes care of their well-being. And also, this shows that the people are recognized, equality is evident, and the honesty on part of the government that it should serve its people. Another thing about New Zealand is citizens do not want any corruption from their public officials. They are not expecting that elected officials will use their positions to do illegal activities for personal interests.
Religion affects health in terms of practices and beliefs. A country can have many classifications as far as faith is concerned. There are varieties of religion within New Zealand, majority are Christians that includes Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian. There are also growing numbers of people associated with Sikh, Hindu and Islam respectively. Since the migration is going up, people from other countries with different faith come in, along with them are diverse practices and beliefs as well that can be an issue one way or another in relevance to health. One good example is the prohibition of blood transfusion in other religion. Another is the food restrictions like not eating pork or beef, during fasting period, and many others. The government should recognize these situations thus providing necessary measures to deal with it. A way to address it is to review the existing policies to make it appropriate to the present circumstances.
Human values refer to the behaviours of men that are correct in every aspect. These are the basis of legislations, guided by the concept of doing the right thing. Usually it starts in the family, parents being as the model showing values to their children then eventually learning from outside environment thru teachers at school, friends, and the community. Human values are significant part of the society because they provide identity and pride as well to the people living within a community. And leaders with human values can produce a direct impact in dealing with the problems of the nation particularly in making health interventions. The virtue of selflessness must be present in all elected and public officials. Every nation has distinct traits when it comes to health and human values. New Zealand is a country that is striving to put these standards into a higher level so that people will benefit in the long term up to the next generation.
Ethnicity and traditions are interrelated factors that influence health interventions. New Zealand has a growing ethnic background which in connection to the entry of migrants from various parts of the world. It is undeniably adding to the list and starting to be part of the system. While health interventions are focused on European, Maori, and Pacific people, Asians have considerable numbers already living and settling in this country; also people from the Central and Latin Americas. Since the government chose to open their doors to foreign people, it should provide policies emphasizing the status of migrants in respect to health. Although, Maori health status has been recognized and being pushed to produce positive outcome for the natives of New Zealand after years of experiencing low health services and inequalities, the authorities should not take aside the large number of migrants currently living on their land.
The presence of the aforementioned determinants provides an array of information to plan, implement and evaluate health interventions. These factors serve as guide to come up with the needed mechanisms, to improve services and to promote equality in health status of affected groups.
Levine, Stephen. (2012). ‘Political values – New Zealand politics and political values’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved from http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/political-values/page-1
Levine, Stephen. (2012). ‘Political values – New Zealand politics and political values’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved from http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/political-values/page-4
Statistics New Zealand. (2014). Top Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/snapshots-of-nz/top-statistics.aspx
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