Health is a condition where disease and infirmity are completely absent. There is no longer any part of the body that is not included in this general term. Different definitions have been applied for various purposes over the years. With the recent emphasis on the concept of health as an essential human right, what is health has taken on a more encompassing meaning.
In today’s world there is an increasing emphasis on health. The changing face of the global economy and the increasing complexity of the system, the different views of what constitutes health are continuously changing. The increasing complexity of the online environment, in the form of the increasing ability to access multiple information sources has also had a profound impact on the formation of health definitions.
This has led to a situation where people are at sharp odds when it comes to accessing health care. Those who have a lot of savings are able to get health care at a very affordable price, but those who do not have as much money do not have access to services of a very high quality. In some instances, health care practices may even discriminate against certain segments of the population. A major challenge that faces the global community today is the emergence of health care disparities.
Equity in health is necessary to tackle health disparities. Health equity refers to the idea that all people in a community should have access to the same levels of health care and health outcomes. Health equity is also closely linked to quality of life. People of color and other disadvantaged groups face greater health disparities when compared with white people. People of color and the poor are facing higher rates of chronic conditions and life-threatening diseases.
Two such examples of health disparities that affect the majority of people of color and other disadvantaged groups are infant mortality and physical health. Infant mortality is the difference between the number of deaths that occur among infants in a group compared to the number of deaths that occur in the general population. In order to reduce the rate of infant mortality, countries have taken up many public health activities aimed at reducing the number of infant deaths. One example is the National Healthy Child Program, which has helped improve the health of millions of children. The programs focus on promoting better breastfeeding; improving the nutritional status of the child; reducing the prevalence of under-nutrition; increasing the duration and frequency of feeding; and maintaining sufficient breast milk for the first 6 months of the child’s life. These initiatives have reduced the number of infant deaths by ensuring better nutrition.
In addition to federal initiatives, there are private sectors that are taking up their part to eliminate health disparities. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is currently supporting projects that seek to eliminate health disparities through research and development, distribution of drugs and medication through scholarships and programs, implementation of policies and training and other activities aimed at raising the health and educational levels of the disadvantaged sector. Efforts such as these by organizations outside the government are proving to be beneficial.