Unemployment As A Determinant Of Health Essay Sample
According to the deﬁnition of World Health Organization (WHO), Health is a state of thorough physical, mental and social comfort and, not simply the absence of illness or inﬁrmity (World Health Organization, 1990). This definition however does not scientifically state exactly what health really is. More knowledge about diseases has been derived from descriptive evidence discovered by health statistics. Apart from many common chronic non communicable diseases and infectious diseases, e.g. heart diseases, poor evidence about many diseases exists. For example one of the most prevalent diseases in the developed world –cancer, much knowledge of the disease is much more confined to specific cancer sites like lungs. Numerous factors combine together to affect the health of persons and communities. An individual’s health is determined by their personal circumstances and surroundings. To a great scope, factors like residence, the nature of our environment, genetics revenue, relationships with family and peers, and education background altogether have a significant bearing on health, whereas the widely considered factors like access to health care often have less of an impact (Treadwell, 2013). The determinants differ from one environment/region/continent/ country to another. The context of an individual’s lives determines their wellbeing. People are unlikely to be able to directly control the many of the determinants of health and so acknowledging them for good health or condemning individuals for having poor health is unfitting. On top of the above factors, the things that make individuals healthy or not are, it is widely assumed that health and disease are determined or mostly affected by three major:
• Ecological factors;
• Social factors;
• Behavioral factors
Analytical research on this diseases aims to examine the correlations of these factors with speciﬁc ailments. Respective disease research is basically reliant on the presence of quality and adequate data where severe variances have to be witnessed already in developed countries. But even when enough epidemiological data are accessible, analytical epidemiological research is time and again constrained by the fact that the pointers used for gauging the three main factors often connect or associate in an unknown manner (Kieselbach, 2007). Apart from disease like skin ailments and breast cancer, in all other cases a social angle influence can be noted showing higher or lower disease incidences and prevalence when social class of individuals are factored in. This social gradient also stands when other pointers like education levels are looked at. Individuals of lower social class not only are more prone to disease but also are falling ill way earlier in life and dying prematurely. There are some theories on the causes of social inequalities in health which are not sufficiently understood nor developed.
A basic theoretical method is saying than lower social class individuals have higher risk of diseases due to a combination of risks in all three fields. True to this, when investigating the role of behavioral risks like alcohol consumption, smoking, physical activities, it will be evident that lower class citizens have more susceptible to more behavioral risks as well as ecological and social risks due to living in habitation where noise, crime, pollution are rampant. When it comes to the field of social risk factors, unemployment has to be look upon to be a pertinent and severe risk factor for health. As observed nationally and internationally, there is over whelming evidence to support the argument of unemployment having adverse effects on healthiness in terms of growing risk behavior, reducing resources, and therefore accelerating risk of diseases or developing an already prevalent disease. Even increased mortality rates suggest employment has something to do with it. With there being descriptive evidence there are several overriding factors aggravating or reducing negative health effects. In short, unemployment short or long term are affecting health intensely. With this descriptive epidemiological evidence it is unlikely will have complete understanding of which and how all the mechanism are involved. Hence, the probable health consequences of joblessness may differ in population groups with regards to:
• No or only uncertain wealth;
• The role played by occupation for orientation of the jobless;
• Age and sex;
• Span of unemployment;
• Education attainment level;
• Explanations of unemployment (self-caused);
• Abilities of securing an adequate job;
• Social support;
• Support from the job offices;
• Overall rate of unemployment and the given likelihood to ﬁnd a new job.
So when most of the above factors are negative, then we can expect more severe effect on health. With these ﬁndings any interventions strategies to curb this and promote health should logically be based on valuable involvement approaches to stop this process of deterioration in health.
Thus, in terms of recommendation on how to promote health is subject to trial and error. Long term and older unemployed persons have to a high extent suffered from more than one health issues (Kieselbach, 2000). Hence, such groups not only require health promotion but also health management strategies combining therapy and rehabilitation. This is to say in the whole ﬁeld of public health, interventions and conception work for the unemployed has still to be done.
There are interventions with political basis on the harmful health effects of joblessness. Although joblessness must be regarded as a part of the industrialized capitalistic economy - because of the given recurring economic growth/innovativeness, - escalating unemployment rates can threaten the political cohesiveness of a society and could possibly lead to political instability. For instance in Germany the rise of the national socialist party can be linked at least in part to the rise of mass unemployment’s affecting lower and middle class sections of the population. Therefore traditionally minimizing the risk of unemployment was one of the ﬁrst actions for socialist or social democratic movements giving birth to an insurance system for the jobless populace (Hall, 2010). This system is a bit effective as it secures a basic financial assistance for the jobless for a defined period of time, this assistance is structured or modiﬁed. In the US for instance many people who lose their jobs, forfeit their normal health insurance and must seek another so if they are in a position to do so. It’s worse for those unable to do the same. The German model is better as unemployment does not affect the health insurance. Being out of work does not in any way affect the possibility of and form of the medical attendance. In addition these precautions of social policy in providing minimal subsistence to avoid people from falling immediately through the cracks are however supplemented by additional political interventions dealing with unemployment and the risk of unemployment such as
• Economic and labor market interventions;
• Education qualiﬁcation;
• Health promotion for the unemployed.
Economic and labor market interventions economic policy looks to realize four main micro economic objectives concurrently: development of the economy, financial stability, a balanced export/ import relationship and sufficient employment.
There are various possibilities of achieving these goals through fiscal policy measures but with increased internal and external debts in many nations, monetary stability is one of the prime objectives to be looked at. In contrary to other findings; deﬁcit spending would increase the demand of goods and services, thus increasing economic growth and lowering unemployment, economic experts believe that is the wrong approach. Instead the proper viable way is to focus on tax reductions/reliefs and market liberalization including labor market with the aim to reduce wage levels this policy is appended by an intensive control of unemployed individuals forcing them to search successfully for new jobs opportunities even under poor wages. This strategy is called “demanding and encouraging” (Haugen & Musser, 2011). Whether this policy is morally appropriate is another question altogether with success in bridging the unemployment levels eminent.
Education and Attainment
Given that the initial pertinent rise of joblessness rates, the attainment of persons out of work is predominant instrument of active labor market policy. The rationale of this policy is that persons without professional education are still affected by unemployment mostly. Thus basic and additional educational or qualification measures should be offered to the unemployed. Labor agencies should establish of local job centers to provide interventions in qualifications process. These interventions should be sufficiently evaluated time and again to enable stakeholders to demonstrate any evidence on their success and efficiency. It seems very likely that health promotion for the unemployed will be a relevant intervention strategy in the job centers in the near future.
Health Interventions (Health Promotion) like counseling- and proﬁling strategies should be adopted on the basis of matching abilities and attainments of the jobless to the requirements of the market. During the process of profiling, health condition and health limitations should be thoroughly addressed and recommendations given in terms of what should be done, if certain health problems or health restrictions would be spotted. This is to say health should be regarded as an important tool in the advising and proﬁling system. Screening of health questions in these job centers should additionally not be legally constrained to create a broader understanding of individuals. Health promotion should rightly be seen as the course of allowing people to increase control over, and to improve, their health (McGibbon, 2012). To attain the level of comprehensive physical, mental and social wellbeing, a person or group must be able to point out and realize objectives, to fulfill needs, and to adjustment or cope with the surroundings. Wellbeing is, therefore, seen as a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive perception underscoring social and personal resources, as well as physical capabilities. So, health promotion is not just the duty of the health agency but goes beyond healthy lifestyles to wellbeing. Health Promotion – in addition moral considerations – is also viewed to be a tool in dropping costs in the health system by averting diseases. So countries should establish health promotion interventions and trials, which will attract high public and political attention. The interventions should be accorded good financial budgets to enable them cater to the majority. Also individual health promotion measures in form of training courses could also be employed. Health promotion for the jobless is in fact a progress which a part of measures geared towards matching health promotion and social needs of the populace or certain population segment therefore constricting social inequalities in health. Target sections may be poor children, teenagers, welfare recipients, single parents, unemployed etc. In Germany for instance primary disease prevention and health promotion is a service mandated to the health insurance agencies for their associates and also the whole population (Bambra, 2011). They are tasked with provide services of primary prevention which should better the health status and contribute to bridging social disproportions in health risks. Giving health insurance companies the responsibility for health promotion is internationally should be the way forward incorporating the unemployed in their operations.
Finally we have to note that many persons out of work, especially those with advanced age and long term unemployment – are frequently relentlessly ill. For this group more needs to be done because mere health promotion doesn’t even begin to cover it. They are in need of integrative health administration strategies conjoining therapeutic, rehabilitative and precautionary measures, which have to be established. In future, such particular programs must be doctored holistically and execution has to be precise and all stages of evaluation have to be upgraded. Also documentation and publication of the successes and challenges have to be done.
In conclusion, numerous developed countries have registered progressing unemployment rates which have slightly reduced in times of economic growth. A worldwide contrast of unemployment proportions is difficult to carry out due to diverse legal or arithmetical deﬁnitions of who is to consider being out of work. Overall the real number of the out of work will be at all-time exceed the number officially stated. The risk of unemployment and unemployment itself present risk factors for health except if a majority of controlling factors acts in the opposite direction, possibly adulterating adverse health effects. Long term unemployment is a special risk factor for health in people, which will ultimately also have emotional impact on the health and wellbeing of other family members.
High and increasing unemployment may affect the social and political cohesion of a society. So, social protective measures should be established in nations to granting certain ﬁnancial subsistence for a deﬁned period of time. Job centers are another recommended protective measure to offer counseling the unemployed in getting new jobs. To combat joblessness there are essentially also tools in economic policy as well as active labor market policy. Subsequently health promotion measures (trauma reduction, physical exercises etc.) are progressively discussed, recommended and also tested in social underprivileged groups and also in individuals out of work. From an epidemiological and precautionary point of view these interventions are logical as they are trying to halt or reduce undesirable health developments.
Of course those proposals have been challenged and criticism with these offers or interventions termed as complex and also costly. An assessment of respective interventions for the unemployed carried out shown that the evidence of such programs working effectively is still insufficient. The outcomes of the study should not lead to a rapid dismissal of these trials. They should act as a motivating factor for additional concerted efforts to add more activities, plan, implement and evaluated more thoroughly and in the end have a working system. With the numbers of those out of work soaring on a daily globally its naïve to consider that with health promotion, and other policies, the problem of job loss can be successfully eliminated (Facey, 2011). This will never be the case. What can be done is the prevention of undesirable health effects. And this has to be done by a rationale healthy policy, which has the task of reducing health risks in the inhabitants. The experiences made in these trials should be continued end extended which will allow us better manage the demographical shift which is already ongoing. In some 30 years in many countries today extremely affected by joblessness, the employees aged between 20 to 65 years would shrink quickly. In some sections of the labor market we have to anticipate labor deﬁcit already or even before. This gap can only be closed by some of these proposals. To realize this, we cannot wait the next 20 years. To realize these protective possibilities we have to start now.
Bambra, C. (2011). Work, worklessness, and the political economy of health. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Facey, M. E. (2011). Contingent employment, workforce health, and citizenship. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press.
Hall, R. E. (2010). Forward-looking decision making: Dynamic-programming models applied to health, risk, employment, and financial stability. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Haugen, D. M., & Musser, S. (2011). Unemployment. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
Kieselbach, T. (2000). Youth unemployment and health: A comparison of six European countries. Opladen: Leske + Budrich.
Kieselbach, T., Winelield, A. H., & Boyd, C. (2007). Unemployment and Health: International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Bowen Hills: Australian Academic Press.
McGibbon, E. A. (2012). Oppression: A social determinant of health. Winnipeg: Fernwood.
Oliver, P., Garner, S., Boland, M., & Classroom Video (Firm: Australia). (2006). Determinants of health. Bendigo, Vic: Classroom Video.
Treadwell, H. M., Xanthos, C., & Holden, K. B. (2013). Social determinants of health among African American men. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
World Health Organization. (1990). The world health report. Geneva: Author.
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