WHAT IS HEALTH EQUITY?
Health equity is defined as a means whereby everyone irrespective of their race, gender, color, and language, has equal and fair access to health care services. This is without discrimination or fear as much as possible, in order to achieve their best health. It means giving the highest possible standard of health to all people, anywhere and everywhere. This principle is responsible for a commitment to reduce and ultimately erase differences in health and its determinants.
SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH
Social determinants of health are the non-medical factors and systems that influence access to health and the resulting outcomes. These factors and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies, and political systems. They can influence health equity in positive and negative ways. The higher the socioeconomic status, the better the health. The lower the socioeconomic status, the worse the health
Examples of social determinants of health include:
- Wealth and social protection
- Standard Education
- Employment and job security
- Life conditions
- Availability of food and security
- Housing, basic amenities and the environment
- Early childhood development
- Social inclusion
- Access to affordable health services of standard quality
Pursuing SDH properly is crucial for correcting existing inequities in health and promoting health.
Working toward health equity is a way to correct or challenge the factors which may limit a person’s access to basic health care, thereby preventing them from attaining their best health status.
FACTORS THAT CAUSES HEALTH INEQUITIES
- Ethical and racial discrimination
- Little or no access to quality education
- The severe gap in wealth and income status
- Poor housing infrastructure
- Unsafe environments
STEPS TO ATTAINING HEALTH EQUITY
- Identifying disparities in healthcare
- Amend existing and implement new policies, laws, and practices in a way to reduce inequities.
- Create opportunities and provide resources that are needed for individuals to be as healthy as possible.
- Eliminate the unfair individual conditions as well as inhumane institutional social conditions that give rise to the inequities.
- Evaluate and monitor every planned effort with the use of short- and long-term measures.
- Reassess policies, strategies, and methods in terms of process and outcomes and take appropriate steps.
- Actively engage victims of disparities in the assessment, design, execution, and evaluation of planned solutions.
SERVICES THAT PROMOTE HEALTH EQUITY
Examples of services that promote health equity include:
- Providing health training and seminars that address the specific needs of ethnic communities and groups, especially the minorities
- Providing low-cost services to those who fall into the category of informal
- Using mobile health technology to help those who do not have easy access and/or transportation
- Providing health appointments to individuals who walk late into the night and are unable to access care