Selfish Health

Creating a healthy environment where everyone can succeed and reach their max potential should be the focus of out government. Finding ways to improve health disparities day in and day out can help achieve that goal because after all, the government’s main purpose is to “serve the people.” Unfortunately, our society does not have this ideal mindset, and everyday people suffer from poor public health. For example, drug prices are one of many sub issues to this macro issue; high drug prices limits people from improving their health. In addition, lack of healthcare access in these poor neighborhoods only brings more danger to families and communities because it can encourage bad lifestyle choices. Seeing other families suffer through the pain can hurt emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically. Low income families will continue to struggle in their daily lives if society continues to favor money hungry companies over the people.“Pharmaceuticals and Public Health” states that “…new drugs used to treat hepatitis C infection, manufacturers have set prices in excess of $40,000 per course of treatment, and payers have responded with a variety of policies limiting patient access.” Public health is continuously being overlooked by the government and will continue to be overlooked unless we do something about it.

Growing up in Philippines, you witness poverty right before your eyes. Seeing the conditions of the children made me pick this topic because as a kid I was always bothered at the fact that some of my playmates didn’t have the luxury of a house, clean clothes, toys, clean water and etc. And the saddest part is that these kids thought it was the norm to live in these conditions.

Kids in Philippines digging in trash |

Poverty is another one of public health’s subtopics, and the problem is not only in the United States but all around the world. Many children in the streets of Philippines wore no sandals, had distressed, dirty clothing and overall poor hygiene. Public Health is about the wellness of the whole population in terms of being healthy in all aspects. CDC Foundation defines public health as “ the science of protecting and improving the health of families and communities through promotion of healthy lifestyles, research for disease and injury prevention and detection and control of infectious diseases.” A healthy world will consist of equity for all. Everyone must be presented with the same opportunities without singling our racial, sexual minorities and other groups around the world. Throughout history, medicine and technology have helped improve the wellness of the world. With that, continuous amounts of research and government funded programs led to life-changing discoveries. Here are some key events that CDC website mentions which improved today’s public health:

(1945) United Nations approves the making of the International Health Organizations.
(1955) The Malaria Eradication Programme is launched where its goal was to control the malaria crisis.
(1977) A essential list of medicines is published and now contains 340 medicines that addresses global epidemics.
(1981) Vaccine for hepatitis B is developed.
(1983) The virus HIV is found and gives
(2006) A vaccine to target a cause of cancer is discovered. Overall, it is apparent that medicine, technology, and research helps better lives in many ways. But wealth and power always comes in between the affair of the people and their needs. Despite these advancements and discoveries, only a small amount of people get to have their hands on these advancements because today’s world only runs for money.

For instance in today’s current events, public health is relied on Mr. Trump because the article named “Trump’s Plan to Cut Drug Imports Could Raise Prices, Not Lower Them” by Keith Bradsher mentions, “ …any move to curtail pharmaceutical imports could raise, rather than lower, drug prices, experts warn. That is because many of the cheaper drugs in the United States come from abroad.” Drug prices have been skyrocketing these past years because private businesses are making patents preventing generic drug makers to release their own product. Vaccines, daily medication, plan B’s, and etc will rise in prices which can cause a ripple affect in United States’ public health. The health disparities within different communities will continue to widen. To add on, Trump’s recent pick for secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price , is being investigated for insider trading on health care. The article, “Trump’s Pick for Health Secretary Under Scrutiny” by Katie Thomas, points out that, “ [Tom Price] investment in a tiny Australian company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, was singled out for scrutiny, especially his participation in an offering of discounted stock that was limited to “sophisticated U.S. investors.” Why is this a big problem? Tom Price’s commitment to create wellness for everyone is on the ropes because it seems that he is only in it for the money. As a citizen, it is concerning when standards of high positions like secretary of Health and Human Services are investors and money hoarders because there is no concrete evidence that these powerful men wants America to offer equitable health services. Events such as these two, is something I plan of keeping a microscope on as it affects our daily lives in many ways.

Specifically, focusing on health disparities throughout the semester will enable me to see interesting trends in these groups. People of color in poor neighborhoods and low income families are only some of the groups that are being affected by a system that only favors wealth. Health Disparities within today’s society leads to gun violence, high drug prices, poor urban planning, and poor access to healthcare. Steven A. Schroder mentions in his article, “American Health Improvement”,

“The gap in health status between the United States and other (OECD) developed countries not only persists but has widened over the past decade. This has occurred despite major declines in smoking prevalence. But as with other health problems such as obesity, gun violence ….”

The never ending cycle of continuous poor life choices is because the environment they are living in has no resources. Health disparities shown in poor income communities is caused by discrimination, lack of healthcare access, high drug prices, violence and poor lifestyle choices.

Works Cited

“History of Medicine Timeline.” History of Medicine Timeline. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2016.

Bradsher, Keith. “Trump’s Plan to Cut Drug Imports Could Raise Prices, Not Lower Them.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 12 Jan. 2017. Web. 04 Mar. 2017.

Schroeder, Steven A. “American Health Improvement Depends upon Addressing Class Disparities.” Preventive Medicine, vol. 92, Nov. 2016, pp. 6–15. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.02.024.

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