Social and economic factors have an impact on the health of the population. These forces influence the way people prevent themselves from getting sick and the way they respond in cases of illness. According to World Health Organization (2018) "social determinants of health" (SDH) as "the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life." "The social determinants of health" include social, political, economic, and political forces. Therefore this paper discusses the "social and political effects that shape the social determinants of health in Canada."
Political and Social Forces That Shape the Social Determinants of Health
The social and economic elements impact the health of the population of a nation. Examples of these include quality education, employment opportunities, and unemployment levels, food security, housing shortage, health care services, inequity in income distribution, and social exclusion among others. The unemployed and persons with low income will most likely have poor health, education and live in the substandard dwelling. The outcome of this situation is high infant mortality rates, difficulties in learning in children, stress-related problems, increased nutrition dependent ailments and poor working conditions.
The Current State of Social Determinants of Health in Canada
Canada has put a lot of efforts to improve its health care system. According to the "Toronto Charter for a Healthy Canada" (2003), the move was found to be necessary after the realization that there was rising inequality in social and economic situations in the country. The gaps led to the high cost of accessing health and other social amenities. Furthermore, there was an increase in poverty levels. Hence, children were at risk of health problems and learning difficulties. If the young ones grew under these conditions, they would not contribute fully to the development of the nation. Another major issue in Canada was the marginalization of aboriginal people. These are the minority groups which comprise of nonwhites that experience social exclusion in employment and other spheres in Canada. They earned less than the white Canadians hence the growth of poverty levels. The poor are more likely to report health problems as compared to the rich.
Thus, there was a need for the development and implementation of long-term and short-term interventions. The efforts would promote the health of the citizens of Canada to ensure that everyone was achieving their full potential. Therefore, the government had tackle political and social factors that were the two major forces of "social determinants of health in Canada. "
Canada Services in Support of "Social Determinants of Health"
Some of the efforts of Canada to enhance "social determinants of health" include the universal health service supported by the Canada Health Act and the social welfare support (Mikkonen & Raphael, 2010). The Government has facilitated access to health care for all its citizens' and permanent residents. The universal health care system in Canada is under the public health insurance. Funding for the health system is by taxes from the federal, provincial and territorial entities. The Canada Health Act stipulates conditions for health insurance for province and territories. The law has outlined the essential requirements that the provinces and territories have to meet to receive governments funding. In the Act, the citizens must be allowed to have access to doctors and hospitals without being billed with extra charges for treatment. The move ensures that in case of illness the people get treatment in public institutions. Therefore, the Canada Health Act cushions the poor populations from the adverse effects of poverty and ensures that citizens do not lose working hours because of diseases.
Moreover, the government of Canada is keen on providing health care for protected persons, refugee claimants or refugees (Mikkonen & Raphael, 2010). It does this through the Interim Federal Health Program. The measure is a temporary one for the persons and their dependents until they are eligible for coverage by the health plan. Since the Government of Canada is still striving to enhance equality and reduce poverty, it is logical to include this particular group of persons residing within their jurisdiction in the health care program.
The Canadian Government has implemented social welfare support for its citizens. It is meant to complement families` efforts to cater to their everyday needs. The initiatives under this system are senior citizens support, income support for families with children, and protection of workers among others (Raphael, 2016). The help given to the aged is meant to enhance the life situations including access to healthy foods and health care. Since families with children are likely to have a tight budget, the government ensures that they get additional support to have a healthy livelihood that promotes the well being of the families. The government provides that children grow to be healthy.
In addition to health, giving support to families with children is a way of motivating its citizens to have more children. Currently, the population of children below the age of 14 years is meager and it is a threat to the countries` future workforce (Edmonston & Fong, 2014). With the high disparities in income, the poor will not have to refrain from having more children since the govern supports these households. Also, the efforts to protect workers ensures that employees work under conditions that are free from hazards. Since the working populations are low, the move by the government was necessary. By protecting the workers, Canada would have healthy people to contribute to the economy.
The Implication for Public and Policy Makers
Increased problems in the health of the citizens of Canada is a set back to the nation. Unhealthy people will lose many working hours during their sickness. Also, their caregivers will not dedicate their full efforts to nation building as they take care of the ailing. For a country like Canada with low populations of productive age groups, their economy will be profoundly affected. Also, the state has to promote the health of the people to enhance population growth to have a future workforce. Thus, the policy makers have to continually ensure that supportive policy are in place for promoting health, reducing poverty and increasing income equalities in the country.
The health of a nation is a crucial element in ensuring the growth of a country. This is particularly true for Canada, whose survival is dependent on the improvement of "social determinants of health." These are the elements that affect the health state of the people in a country. They include health services, proper housing, employment, level of income, access to education among others. Canada has some initiates that support its citizen's wellbeing. These are the universal health service and the social amenity support for families with children and seniors. Therefore, with these policies Canada ensure that the country has a healthy growing and working population for the development of the nation.
Edmonston, B., & Fong, E. (2014). Changing Canadian Population. Montreal: MQUP.
Mikkonen, J., & Raphael, D. (2010). Social determinants of health: The Canadian facts. Toronto: York University School of Health Policy and Management.
Raphael, D. (2016). Social determinants of health: Canadian perspectives. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.
Social determinants of health. (2018, May 31). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/social_determinants/en/
The Toronto Charter for a Healthy Canada. (2003). Strengthening the social determinants of health. Canada: Verlag nicht ermittelbar.
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