Inequality is commonly defined as the quality or condition of being relatively unequal and basically there is imbalance or disparity within the circumstance. In the healthcare setting, there are several factors to consider in order for every individual to attain wellness, demonstrate the acquisition and promotion of holistic well-being on all aspect of human life such as physical, social, psychological and spiritual. Knowingly, disparities within healthcare could greatly affect and a considerable factor for it to be a hindrance towards achieving optimum health through all individual.
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Considering that New Zealand is a multi-cultural country in which the most percentage of its population are immigrant people from all over the world with different ethnic identity, cultural orientation, religion and outlook in life towards healthcare whom each one of these individual most likely are concern with their health status and well-being. These differences are important areas needed to be taken into great consideration as it would probably have a huge impact towards the issue of inequality with regards to healthcare interactions.
In this paper, common inequality issues in healthcare interaction being experienced by every pacific islanders, Maori people and immigrants in New Zealand will be provided with interventions and resolutions to somehow reduce inequality and further promote equality among every individual living in this country.
In New Zealand, one important dimension of inequality regarding health promotion and any other healthcare situations is ethnic identity considering its differences when it comes to health beliefs, knowledge and ideas regarding improvement of health. It is a proven fact that every individual has his/her right to health, he/she has the right to acquire full healthcare access and quality services and most importantly has the right to have proper information and be given the knowledge and ideas regarding prevention of illness thus promote wellness within oneself. But because of the one determinant to health considered as a barrier for people achieving good health which is communication and professional interaction among healthcare providers to their clients, disparity or unequal treatment are being experience to most people living in this country especially among the pacific islanders and Maori people. Despite the fact that technology is proven to be adequate in terms of resources and funding are provided to every individual, the issue of inequality still linger and must be taken seriously as a problem towards achieving optimum health.
Inequality in healthcare interaction could widely be affected looking into a person’s socio-economic status and its stability in life. It is a proven fact that inequality roughly limits the opportunities of an individual’s full potential and its capabilities. That is the reason why equality is desirable. With people having a less outlook towards good health and negative perception on it, this could probably affect its concern towards proper well-being. In fact most people having this negative outlook towards health are those individual who are unfortunate enough in terms of socioeconomic status because this will hinder the proper accumulation of the right pattern towards acquisition of equality towards health. These people because of their stability status mostly didn’t have the proper education thus the knowledge and accurate ideas towards prevention of illness, promoting of good health are not properly sustained.
Almost all people especially individual living in New Zealand have different outlook towards health. Maori people have their own health beliefs as well as other ethnic people living in this country. These factors are often referred as determinants to health which greatly affect the quality of healthcare for the people. Factors are categorized into two (2); unchangeable and changeable factors. The unchangeable factor refers to the hereditary implications, age and sex to the Maori and pacific islanders in which most of these are growing into an obese individual without any care and concern regarding their dietary intake. Through this factor these individual should be provided with the right information and knowledge regarding the benefit of having a good and balance health condition. Also, they should be given an input on the consequences of having too much of everything especially with their dietary consumption. The changeable factor that would be the most important factor in order for this determinant of health to be regulated consists of; Individual lifestyle, social and community influences and working condition. These changeable factors determine an individual’s way of life, on how they survive on a daily basis and its influences socially and in the community. To be specific individual lifestyle of most Maori individual often times associate oneself to daily vices such as the use of prohibited drugs, commonly most of them use cigarette as part of their vices as maybe being influence by their older relatives and ancestors. All of this conditions and factors are negative impacts towards health promotion and such actions on the latter part of life could greatly affect health status of an individual thus consequences of having these vices which are contributing factors leading to bad health behaviour will conclude one’s life if not being manage properly and implementations of reducing such doings will not be applied.
Another vital component which plays a role in determining health outcomes is the social environment. The impact of the social environment on health can be seen in the extremely powerful and enduring relationship between health and social and economic inequalities (Dew and Kirkman 2002). The environment surrounding an individual and its social interaction plays a vital role and demonstrate an impact can have on people and their health outcomes. An area that is considered to be a high risk for diseases and infection could be a threatening environment for individual living in the place and somehow promotion of good health outcomes to the people will outweigh the brighter side of its objectives. Most Maori people and other ethnic groups living in New Zealand have different perspective in life concerning health outcomes with most of them rely on their health beliefs in managing health. It is also a concern to some of these people of being non-compliant to treatment plan despite the fact of having all the access towards quality service of healthcare being provided by the New Zealand government. This attitudes could also somehow are in connection to influential attributes from their ancestors regarding health issues and how to manage such health condition leading to ineffective and disparity towards health.
According to the New Zealand Ministry of Health in reducing health inequalities they have provided a framework that entails an implementing and widely comprehensive strategies that will help in overcoming such inequalities in healthcare in this country. They have also proposed some principles for every activity needed to be implemented for inequality issues to be taken into consideration. The proposed framework made by the ministry of health developed four (4) levels in which they foresee these strategies would be beneficial in overcoming inequalities of healthcare. The first level of the strategy is the Structural level. In this strategy the healthcare organization as well as the ministry of health determines the root cause of every inequality experienced by every people in New Zealand. Inequality with regards to socio-economic, ethnical, cultural beliefs and other factors that affects health outcomes are being considered as determinant factors then through these factors planning for the implementation will be based on the given and factors being distinguished. Secondly, are the intermediary pathways which target every material, tool needed that intervene every impact that affects health. Next is Health and disability services in which we all know that here in New Zealand policy regarding disability issues are being made in order to compensate every disabled individual in the country. In this way it also promotes equality of healthcare being provided to every individual living in New Zealand especially to individual with disability to Pacific Islander and Maori people. The government promoted different policy on the issue to disability thus giving every individual regardless to its culture, race and ethnicity the rights to live with great lives despite their condition. The last level of strategy to help reduce inequality to healthcare is the Impact. Minimising the impacts or every determinant of healthcare outcomes, disability and illnesses will greatly improve the quality of life and further develop and promote equality of healthcare.
Another factor that influences the reduction of inequality on healthcare is the current implementation of Partnership within New Zealand. This partnership was first represented way back the year 1840 where the signing of partnership Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) took place. During the sequence of events the Maori people’s leaders signed the treaty that enable the British people take authority of the native lands and resources in accordance and in return the Maori people are guaranteed the full right and ownership of their lands and that they will provide security and development to every resources. Maori people are also given the right and privilege to all British subjects. In this recent time, New Zealand is aiming to the principles of partnership; participation and protection for the people of New Zealand attain equality especially in response to Healthcare delivery system. The New Zealand government fully ensure its commitment to good relationship and bond with other Non-government organization (NGO) or the community sector and in partnership with international healthcare organization in the development and promotion of good health for their people. They tend to adhere on policy to better promote social inclusion of its people thus law-making body provide ideas and knowledge to implement growing strategies and methods for social change on the behaviour of every individual leading to improvement and lifestyle modification aiming for community development. One objective of the ministry of health in New Zealand is to promote people’s rights. This includes the full right of gaining access towards quality healthcare, the provision of the ideas and knowledge pertaining health issues must be provided to every individual seeking medical management. Respect is a value also being emphasized for every individual in the country knowing its multi cultural and diversity among people living in the country. It is known that with different culture and religion along with it are different beliefs from its religion regarding health but through respecting their own beliefs and take consideration, embracing their way of managing health issues could also be a significant area to reduce inequality of healthcare interaction.
People in the healthcare sector should also take full consideration that New Zealand is a melting pot for immigrants with different races and ethnicity. Having a little bit of idea regarding their culture, beliefs and practices is one way of trying to respect them. Healthcare providers should not be complacent in providing quality care basing on their nationality because in providing an equal care to individual is regardless if a person is black or white. And it is important that holistic care should be an important value in the promotion of wellness to every people.
As all things being considered, disparity and inequality in Healthcare especially the interaction between people living in New Zealand could somehow can be greatly discuss as it becomes an issue in healthcare that needs to be given implementation for it to be intervene and promote equality within the promotion and achievement of well-being to every individual in New Zealand. Knowingly, New Zealand is a country recognised to be a melting pot of ethnic group, races and different people living in. With cultural differences in a country it is prominent to have difficulties in terms of interaction to people especially in the healthcare setting. The value of partnership and respect to all rights of individual in New Zealand are values and tool in which inequality issue can be address and resolve. Predominantly, inequality is one of the common issue being experienced by people especially immigrants, Pacific Islanders and Maori people living in New Zealand but nonetheless, the government is taking action and promote strategies overcoming this issues and making this one of their priority concern. Although this will be for a long term process for it to be fully implemented and shows good result regarding the reduction of such barrier of healthcare outcome but still actions were already implemented and every strategy and plans are widely considered for the better of every individual in New Zealand.
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Several policy regarding promotion of health are made by the New Zealand Ministry of Health in response to quality delivery of the Healthcare system and development towards healthcare such as the Policy for Health management to Maori people and Disability policy to provide care and associate every disabled individual to the community and giving them equal rights to every person in the country. This group of individual are in need of equal treatment and access to healthcare and through this policies they are given the opportunity to achieve and promote wellness despite the condition they are having.
- He Korowai Oranga | Ministry of Health NZ. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/populations/maori-health/he-korowai-oranga
- DHB MÄori Health Plans and Health Needs Assessments | Ministry of Health NZ. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/populations/maori-health/dhb-maori-health-plans-and-health-needs-assessments
- Health and Pacific Peoples in New Zealand. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/people_and_communities/pacific_peoples/pacific-progress-health/influences-on-health-well-being.aspx
- The Treaty in brief – The Treaty in brief | NZHistory, New Zealand history online. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/treaty/the-treaty-in-brief
- Adams,J., Witten,K., & Conway,K. (2009). Community development as health promotion: evaluating a complex locality-based project in New Zealand.Community Development Journal. doi:10.1093/cdj/bsm049
- Harris,R., Tobias,M., Jeffreys,M., Waldegrave,K., Karlsen,S., & Nazroo,J. (2006). Racism and health: The relationship between experience of racial discrimination and health in New Zealand.Social Science & Medicine. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.04.009
- Ajwani, S., T. Blakely, B. Robson, M. Tobias and M. Bonne (2003) Decadesof Disparity: Ethnic Mortality Trends in New Zealand 1980–1999, Ministry of Health and University of Otago, Wellington.
- Matheson,A. (2005). Engaging Communities to Reduce Health Inequalities: Why Partnership?
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