Inequities and Avoidable Deaths

Holly Koch

The world, no matter how you categorize it, is ripe with inequities. All over the globe, people are suffering from avoidable hardships, unfair conditions, and unjust circumstances. People are marginalized by race, religion, ethnicity, location, etc. and there are serious consequences. Health disparities are a huge way in which these people are penalized in ways that are no fault of their own. These are disparities such as lack of access to basic human needs, health care, infrastructure, education, and the list goes on. In most places, the ability to provide is not the issue, it is the willingness to share the “wealth” that many places struggle with. Corrupt dictators sit on their thrones of gold while their people starve on their dirt floors.

When there are disparities, especially in health, there result avoidable deaths. The WHO estimates that better use of existing preventive measures could reduce the global burden of disease by as much as 70% (WHO, 3). That means that we already have much of the needed solutions, but why are we not implementing them? For example, Diarrheal Disease is a preventable, avoidable disease; with basic sanitation and access to clean water, a huge difference could be made in eradicating the affliction. Why are these things not being put into place?

For one, we need to better address those who are being affected by disparities. According to the Weber and Fore article, Race, Ethnicity, and Health: An Intersectional Approach, “One of the difficulties encountered when attempting to identify, understand, and redress health inequalities is getting access not only to health data that represent multiple racial/ ethnic groups but also to data that reflect significant variations within those groups across genders, socioeconomic statuses, social classes, and sexual orientations” (Weber and Fore, 193). In the same article, the authors quote Mullings and Wali as saying, “a fundamental part of the process of addressing health disparities lies in reconceptualizing health as a characteristic of societies and a human right” (Weber and Fore, 210).

What we can take from this is that we need to change the way we look at the disparities, by getting our hands dirty. We need to get into these places and ask questions, not answer them ourselves. The extent of human suffering is vast, but it needs to be witnessed in order to gain solutions. If these people can bare to live their lives full of inequities, inequalities, and misfortune, we can bare to listen to what they have to say.

The following video is of the graduation speech Bill Gates made at Harvard University encouraging the addressing and eradicating of global inequities.

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2 thoughts on “Inequities and Avoidable Deaths

  1. People from third world countries should be able to receive adequate treatment for illnesses that can be easily treated in more adept nations. Health disparities that exist around the world should be put to an end by encouraging people to make a conscientious effort to shed light on the plights of people from developing nations.
    Organizations should strive to educate people from third world countries on healthier ways of living instead of focusing on providing them sustenance for the time being. It is important to focus on findings way to implement knowledge on how to prevent disease from the onset by informing individuals on the importance of hygiene and sanitation.
    Proper health should moreover be seen as a human right so that all people regardless of their race or socio economic background will be able to access the same resources and amenities needed to survive. Health disparities that exist should be combated against by making adults and future generations more aware of the plights of the world and how each individual can make a stride towards the goal aimed towards ending human suffering.

  2. Indeed, we do need to go into these countries and ask questions. Why are they faced with poverty, while we suffer from overindulgence and over-consumption? The disparity in wealth is obvious to most, and yet why do we sit back and watch. Doing nothing is the same as being the source of the problem.
    However, health advocates need to take a careful approach. Helping poverty is not just a matter of dropping off sacks of food and barrels of water. We need to comprise methods that lift people off their feet and enable them to provide for themselves. We need to recreate the structure of society so that minorities and lower class have access to the care they need. The problem is that the people in power are more than comfortable in their wealth. Most aren’t going to let go of their “hard-earned gains” out of the goodness of their heart. There is a need to completely restructure both American society and the world.

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