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Social and Health Inequalities in New Zealand

Info: 2040 words (8 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 11th Jan 2021

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  1. Assess and discuss the impact the following environmental and attitudinal determinants have on health in terms of planning, implementation, and the evaluation of health interventions:

A. Demographic distribution of populations

Before discussing the effect of Demographic distribution on population, let us first discuss what is population distribution. Population distributionmeans the pattern of where people live. World population distribution is uneven. Places which aresparsely populated contain few people. Places which aredenselypopulated contain many people. Sparsely populated places tend to be difficult places to live. These are usually places with hostile environments. Basically this determinant focuses on the importance of the number of people in a certain location. For example, if the location is dominated by the older age group, the government focuses their funding to the needs of the senior citizens. They focus more on that particular age group because they compose a great portion of the population. But the government should not disregard the other age group that has different needs also. (Population, 2014)

B. Social

The society that is present in New Zealand is very diverse. Same as the culture that is in this country. The Pacific people and the Maoris has a tendency to have a lower income job compare to the Pakehas. Therefore the Pakehas can afford better healthcare compared to the Maoris and the Pacific people. There are a lot of factors in the society that determines the health of the people. These factors may include strong family ties, pleasant environment, housing, and ways of living. These factors affect the health of the people in different manners. It may be negative or positive. If something goes wrong with these factors, social problems arise. For example, the poor housing may lead to poor hygiene and then it will eventually lead to sickness. In addition, hazardous environment at work or at home may endanger the health of the people. Looking at an individual perception, firm and good family ties and support enhances the health status of an individual.

Strong social networks within a distinct geographical neighbourhood help to create

healthier conditions in several ways, including:

  • social control of illegal activity and of substance abuse
  • socialisation of the young as participating members of the community
  • providing first employment
  • improving access to formal and informal health care (Wallace 1993).

C. Cultural

Here in New Zealand, the culture is very diverse since there are a lot of races that are present in this country. We have the Maoris, the Pakehas, the Indians, Asians and other races. Therefore the healthcare delivery system should also address to the needs of these people with different cultural background. Language is also one factor that we can look into. Many people from different parts of the world come here in New Zealand and let’s face it, not all of the foreigners are well versed in the English language. This creates a barrier in healthcare delivery. When explaining a treatment procedure to a patient who is not well versed in English, it is a challenge to make sure that you are explaining properly and giving the correct information to the patient. So, it is important to know and understand the patient’s background to be able to deliver appropriate care to them. It is very difficult for the Ministry Health of New Zealand to adopt to the different cultures present here but knowing the different cultures will help them understand and identify what measures to be implemented for the different cultures here in New Zealand. It may be a difficult task to do trying to understand each and every culture present here, but it will be beneficial and the Ministry of Health will be able to plan more strategic interventions for the people that compose New Zealand. Cultural diversity increases the challenge to the effectiveness of the healthcare delivery system in New Zealand (Durie, 2001)

D. Political

Politicians use healthcare to be one of their focus or goals if they are running for the election. Politicians promise to give the people a better healthcare delivery, healthcare benefits, facilities and other needs. This promises may be politically but if we look at it in a broader sense, it will benefit the people and their health if the promises that he politicians give will be carried out.

E. Religious Beliefs

New Zealand has become increasingly culturally diverse, there is also an increase in religious diversity. People that has a strong religious orientation and who are primarily motivated by religious belief are believed to have a greater health outcome. People have different religious coping style. This religious coping style is like the way people engage their religiosity to help them cope with their everyday life.

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Generally, religious belief and practices give a positive outcome to mental health. There is a strong link between religious belief and low incidents of depression. It also reduce the number of suicidal risks, anxiety attacks and sometimes psychotic disorders. Religious belief is important in helping people to recover from traumatic events. In addition, religious belief is believed to reduce practices that result to major health problems. These practices are alcohol abuse, drug abuse and cigarette smoking.

Overall, religious belief should not be disregarded when it comes to health because it plays a major role in the life and health of the people. Healthcare personnel should respect the religious belief of the patients.

F. Values

Some people look at their health as a precious aspect in their life. They value it and take care of it very well. In a multicultural country like New Zealand, people here have different perspective of heath. As for the Pacific people and the Maoris they have a lesser value of health compared to the Pakehas. In order to know how to address the needs of the people, the health department should first identify their needs. Like if the Pacific people and the Maoris do not value their health, they should be given continuous health education to make them realize that they need to value their health. They should be also followed up so that there is continuity of care.

G. Ethics

Ethics are rules and principles that guide right and wrong. Ethic can be related to health if it is about making proper decisions regarding health. There are a lot of ethical dilemma in healthcare and treatments. It is acting well and making decision that is morally good. Let us take abortion for example. If a pregnant woman come in to the hospital and asks for the Doctor to abort the baby that she is carrying, the Doctor should decide if it is ethically correct to abort the baby or not. The healthcare team should know their morals.

H. Traditions

Traditions play a major role in healthcare. People are used to involving their traditions to their life and to their health. For the Maoris they value their family or whanau so much. Their tradition is that they want their family members or whanau to get involved in their care. Their family members has a say in making decisions regarding the health of the patient. Therefore, whatever decision the family or whanau has, it should be respected and taken into account by the healthcare team.

Environmental Determinants

  1. The Public concepts of what health is

Before discussing concepts of Health, let me first define what Health is. Health is the state of physical, mental and social well-being of one individual. Health is important because if one is in a Good Health condition, he/she can properly function (eg. For work, sports, etc) and it helps people do activities of daily living. Public concepts of health is important because if the public believes that they are healthy, then they can achieve almost anything and it makes them more productive in the community.

  1. The Public concepts of what illness is

So what is illness? Illness is a disease or some sort of sickness that will or may affect an individual. It is usually a disease that affects the body of a living organism. There are different kinds of illnesses. For example, there are what you call Physical and Mental illnesses. Physical illness is any illness that affects the body which can be viral, bacterial, rash etc. Mental illness on the other hand, is a disorder characterized by dysregulation of mood, thought and/or behavior. The public’s concept of what illness is important because if they perceive that they are ill or are sick, then they cannot function and work well. This affects their performance outside, whether at work, at play or even at home. They also cannot be easily accepted by society if they are believed to be carrying some sort of disease to prevent spreading.

  1. The importance the public put on health

With regards to health, it is important that the public have an enhanced idea on how and which are healthy and unhealthy for them. Proper information dissemination and education should be done by different private and public sectors to inform the public. The public or the people on the other hand, should have an open-minded attitude towards learning. Compliance with these certain regimens can and will help the public have a healthy and happy lifestyle.

  1. Public attitudes towards health and medical professionals

The public should be working together hand in hand with medical professionals into making and having a good and healthy life. Whether they be Caregivers, Nurses, GP’s, Physio’s, or anyone working in the medical field, it is critical that they consider what they suggest. As suggested earlier, compliance is a big factor. All this knowledge that would be provided by all these professionals would go to waste If people are not willing to do or try. They must also have a positive attitude towards learning for them to further expand their knowledge, and at the same time be able to share Health teachings.

Related content


Durie, M. (2001, November 22). CULTURAL COMPETENCE AND MEDICAL PRACTICE IN NEW ZEALAND. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.massey.ac.nz/: http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/fms/Te Mata O Te Tau/Publications – Mason/M Durie Cultural competence and medical practice in New Zealand.pdf

Population. (2014). Retrieved from Internet Geography: http://www.geography.learnontheinternet.co.uk/topics/popn1.html

Wallace R. 1993. Social disintegration and the spread of AIDS – II: Meltdown of

sociogeographic structure in urban minority neighbourhoods. Soc Sci Med 37: 887-96.


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