Good Essay About The “Haves” And “Have Nots”: Why Are There Disparities?
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Despite having a great deal in common with each other in terms of economic disparities and health outcome improvements, there are some noted disparities in several health outcomes between India and China in the past 50 years. One of these outcomes is overall life expectancy; for the most part, the Chinese find themselves living much longer and healthier than Indian people (Chatterji et al., 2008). Women in China live up to 74 years on average, while Indian women are typically only expected to live around 63 years (Ma & Sood, 2008). This is an incredibly large disparity (though it is larger for women than men).
Another health outcome is significantly different between India and China – health status at birth, including low birth weight (LBW). In India, 30% of infants had LBW, while Chinese newborns only had a 6% LBW rate (Ma & Sood, 2008). In terms of infant death, 58 of every 1,000 infants died within their first year of life in India, while only 27 out of 1,000 died that way in China (Ma & Sood, 2008).
There are many unique reasons for these differences in life expectancy and other health outcomes. One possible reason is the much higher childbirth mortality rate for women in India, which contributes to the higher gap in female life expectancy between the two countries (Ma & Sood, 2008). Overall, however, these differences can be explained with an overall ineffectiveness in both the Chinese and Indian health care systems, which is somewhat more exacerbated in India itself. Both health care systems find themselves to be extremely financially risky, with poor people in low-income areas of both countries having to spend a higher portion of their income on medical services than those in higher income brackets (Ma & Sood, 2008).
Both countries lack sufficient health insurance systems, granting people less access to affordable care (and thus eschewing preventative care). Furthermore, India in particular showcases a decided overutilization of care, in which doctors increase the financial obligations of the patients by applying too many medical outcomes than are necessary in order to maximize profits (Ma & Sood, 2008). This results in a tremendous amount of consumer dissatisfaction in both nations, given the prevalent of terrible attitudes from staff, and an inability to develop successful relationships with patients. There is also a fear and anxiety revolving around corruption In hospital staff in India, poor conditions in hospitals themselves, and overall poor communication skills on the part of hospital staff (Ma & Sood, 2008).
In the case of India, there is one beacon of hope for this particularly troublesome healthcare system – the system in Kerala. Despite India’s poor rankings and overall performance in health care, Kerala itself seems to offer the vast majority of palliative care services available in India, just to its residents. There are many reasons why Kerala seems to be offering higher life expectancy and infant health rates than the rest of India, mostly relating to their self-contained, highly preventative-minded health care system and overall infrastructure. The city of Kerala itself meets a number of indicators of high quality of life, including the establishment of primary health centers (more than 2700 in the state), the establishment of nutrition programs supported by the state, and much more.
The result of this incredible amount of care has allowed the state to enjoy extremely high health outcomes compared to the rest of the country. In Kerala, only 12 per 1,000 children died in their first year, much less than the other states in India (Suryanarayana, 2008). Kerala finds community based health care programs substantially, and places a great emphasis on preventative care, higher quality of life, and better social outcomes for its citizens. As such, there is tremendous incentive for maintaining a highly regulated, efficient and well-trained staff with appropriate resources and facilities to care for its citizens (Economist Intelligence Unit, 2010).
Looking at the trends in both China and India, as well as the rare success of Kerala within the latter, it is clear that health care systems work best when they have a stronger focus on palliative and preventative care, and do more to educate their patients about how to take care of themselves and their children. The high rates of infant mortality in India is directly correlated to its low life expectancy, especially for women; when they do not have the healthcare they need, or are forced to endure subpar care from unskilled, over-caring doctors who seek profits before health, these kinds of results can occur (Yip & Mahal, 2008).
While China focused much less on economic growth, China vastly improved its health outcomes; however, India’s booming industry has coincided with the lowering of its own health standards, creating a decidedly clear connection between a focus on material wealth and the decline of one’s health. While this seems antithetical (richer people should be able to afford better healthcare), the social factors at play may also be contributing to this lower quality of life (Blumenthal & Hsiao, 2005). The solution, then, is to emulate the Kerala model however possible, offering high-quality health care through a greater emphasis on prevention and resources.
Blumenthal, D., & Hsiao, W. (2005). Privatization and its discontents—the evolving Chinese
health care system. New England Journal of Medicine,353(11), 1165-1170.
Chatterji, S., Kowal, P., Mathers, C., Naidoo, N., Verdes, E., Smith, J. P., & Suzman, R. (2008).
The health of aging populations in China and India. Health Affairs, 27(4), 1052-1063.
Economist Intelligence Unit. (2010). The quality of death: ranking end of life care across the
world. The Economist Intelligence Unit.
James, S. (2013). Why is China ahead of India? A fascinating analysis by Amartya Sen. The
World Bank. Retrieved from http://blogs.worldbank.org/psd/why-china-ahead-india-fascinating-analysis-amartya-sen.
Ma, S., & Sood, N. (2008). A comparison of the health systems in China and India. RAND
Center for Asia Pacific Policy. Occasional Paper.
Suryanarayana, M.H. (2008). Morbidity profiles of Kerala and All-India: an economic
perspective. Indira Gandhi Institution of Development Research.
Yip, W., & Mahal, A. (2008). The health care systems of China and India: performance and
future challenges. Health Affairs, 27(4), 921-932.
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