The social determinants of health
The social determinants of health refer to the social and economic conditions that determine an individual’s health and medical well-being. Economic and social conditions are variedly distributed amongst people and they affect people’s working and living conditions differently. The social determinants of health affect an individual working and living conditions. Social determinants are informed by public policies that mirror the political ideologies of the people in authority. Economic conditions determine the social conditions of a community. People who live in affluent areas are more content with their lives and they are mentally and physically healthier than people who are not content with their social status. Poor people generally are less healthy and have shorter life expectancies as compared to rich people.
This differences in health are social injustices and they illuminate powerful health determinants in the modern world. The differences have allowed an increased understanding of how remarkably sensitive health issues are in the social environment. Social determinants contribute to the development of diseases in that poor people are generally more exposed to pathogens than the rich. They eat and drink contaminated food and water, the share amenities and they have no easy access to medical attention.
According to the epidemiologic triad model, the repeated interaction of a disease-causing agent on their host in a conducive environment results in the spread of infectious diseases (CDC, 2014). The pathogen leaves its host and enters another potential host through a relevant portal. The pathogen thrives and multiplies in its habitat in what is referred to as a chain of infection (WHO, 2014). Understanding the various transmission channels and exit portals enable a care provider to know the best cause of prevention and treatment. Control measures are typically employed in the section of the infection chain that allows easy intervention. For instance, in the treatment of a bacterial respiratory infection, a nurse can administer antibiotics to a patient. A nurse can also wear protective gear such as masks and gloves to protect them from getting infections by touching infected bodily fluids.
The global health issue which I have chosen and has affected the international health community is Zika Virus. It is a virus, which is spread by mosquito popularly known as Aedes species of mosquito. The said species of mosquito can bite both during the day and night. An issue of concern about Zika virus is pregnancy. The virus can pass through placenta thereby leading to birth defects. Zika virus can also be spread through sexual intercourse or sexual acts (Salazar, 2016). Unfortunately, Zika virus does not have a vaccine. Some of the symptoms of Zika virus include headache, fever, joint pain, rash, muscle pain and red eyes. According to CDC, Zika virus symptoms can last for days or weeks. Death and hospitalization after Zika infection are very rare. After one is infected with Zika virus, immunity is built against infections in the future ((U.S.), 2018). Mosquitos, which spread Zika virus, can also spread chikungunya virus and dengue virus.
In the US, Zika infections have been reported in Florida and Texas states. On a global level, Zika infections have been reported in each continent except Europe and Antarctica. CDC already issued travel notices for regions including Asian nations of Singapore and Maldives, African countries of Guinea-Bissau and Angola, regions in Central America, Caribbean and Mexican regions such as Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama. The CDC also reported other regions affected though it did not issue travel notices especially in Asia and Africa ((U.S.), 2018).
Health care delivery systems all over the world need to work together to address Zika virus especially by creating awareness and providing education on prevention of transmission to areas of risks. As said earlier, there is no vaccine for Zika Virus and they key here is the prevention of mosquito bites (Salazar, 2016). Travellers who are outside their home countries should be made aware of higher risk regions. There is also need for safe sex practices to prevent Zika infections. CDC suggests the use of both male and female condoms to reduce Zika transmission through sexual acts.