Essay Sample on Rural-Urban Health Disparities

Published: 2021-06-23
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Boston College
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Increasing health care in rural and remote areas in Australia will not reduce rural-urban health differential, this is because there are lots of things that come along with these health disparities. The following essay presents a wide scoop of the social effect that leads to rural-urban health disparities. This research is based on the nature and extent of the health inequities; the sociocultural, socioeconomic and environmental determinants; and the parts of individuals, communities, and government in addressing the health inequities in Australia.

A link between poverty, poor education, and poorer health outcomes, with increased diseases, is well established. Heart disease, obesity, low birth weight, and diabetes are usually more dominant among individuals with low income and educational attainment. Culture also plays a huge role in determining health linked beliefs and practices. Therefore effective health care requires the use of knowledge of cultural health-related beliefs, practices and health risks.

Approximately 30% of Australians live in rural and remote areas, the majority of the land is considered very remote locations, and these remote areas are mysteriously inhabited by indigenous Australians. These people have a greater rate of mortality and disease, and a more presence of risk factors.

(Australian health data, 2014); the majority (79%) of Indigenous Australians lives in metropolitan or regional areas. The Indigenous population is much younger than non-indigenous, in 2011 half of the population was aged 22 or under compared with 38 or under for non-indigenous. Only 3% of them were aged 65 and over. The younger profile age is mainly due to higher fertility rates and higher mortality rate at all ages compared with non-indigenous Australians. The leading causes of deaths for the rural inhabitants are; circulatory conditions (26% of the deaths), cancer (19%) and external causes such as suicides, falls, transport accidents and assaults (15%). Regardless of the high birth rates, the infant's death rates are high too.

Rural Australians also experience lower levels of education, higher rates of unemployment, lower income levels, and poorer housing than the people living in the metropolitan areas(Alston, 2010b; Cheers, Darracott; & Anne, 2007; Cheers &Taylor, 2005). Therefore the countryside is very deprived on almost all socio-economic indices compared to their counterparts. They have also experienced significant structural and social alteration over the last few decades. These mainly are the steady decline in the agricultural sector with the export reducing by a considerable number over the past few years. Over time the withdrawal of services, such as banking institutions, government services, and private businesses, has been linked with high rates of unemployment, and poverty in rural areas (Cheers et al., 2007; Cheers &Taylor, 2005).

There are also several gender barriers especially in regards to women who are faring significantly worse than their male counterparts. These women who reside in the rural areas experience double disadvantage. They encounter significant inequality due to factors relating to their geographical location and subsequent issues of isolation, lack of resources, and lack of access to services (Boetto .H, 2013). Australias rural localities face an increasing burden of death due to suicide (Hirsch, 2006). The people that are most subjected to this are males, farmers, indigenous people and youth. Data from the Queensland Suicide Register showed that, between 2005 and 2007, male suicide rates in remote areas (36.32 per 100,000) were considerably higher than non-remote areas males (18.24 per 100,000).

Cardiovascular (CVD) mortality variance between rural/regional and urban-dwelling residents of Australia are precedent. Unavailability of biomedical CVD risk factor data has limited efforts to understand the causes of the disparity (British Medical Journal, 2014). Attitudes towards health and wellness may vary between rural and urban inhabitants; this has a vast influence on health statistics that are measured across Australia. People in the countryside commonly describe health in the negative, as an absence of disease, and tends to take it for granted (Humphreys, 1998). The issue of poor health in the rural is a global problem. It is prevalent the underprivileged communities like the minorities and also its increased by the poor road transport in the rural making it quite difficult to access by the specialist or even set up medical health centers that are fully functional like their urban counterparts. This is a recurring issue over the years.

These health disparities are not just brought about by the lack of health care in the areas. There are several sociological aspects that are involved. To change this inequity; there are several initiatives that need to be executed besides improving access to health services. Sociologists try to explain certain societal behaviors that hinder them from development and lagging behind other societies. The rural and remote areas of the Australia are mostly inhabited by the Australians minorities that have endured years of social, economic and environmental injustices.

The socio-cultural determinants on the health of rural and remote communities include: high level of distress and pressure when working on the land, misery, and desperateness due to lack of opportunities, culture of alcohol consumption, more probable stereotypical gender roles males work on the farms and finally distress and mental disorders due to absence of opportunity and natural disasters. The socio-economic determinants are like: lower average gross household income, more likely to be manual labor working on the land or mining, unemployment is higher and there are fewer opportunities, likely to not complete year 12 in school, and there are fewer educational opportunities example tertiary education. The environmental determinants includes; poorer living conditions- due to harsher environment that in the urban set up, inaccessible mainstream health services like GPs, specialists and emergency care, hazardous occupations such as mining, one may need to travel long distances to access employment or health services, inadequate provision of health infrastructure like access to screening, lower access to health care and health promotions and finally poorer roads and less enforcement of safety laws that leads to disaster like accidents.

Social stigma is the most prevalent of them all. This is an extreme disapproval of an individual based on social characteristics that are perceived to distinguish them from members of society. According to Goffman, there are three types of stigma: the stigma of character traits, physical characteristics, and stigma of group identity. Character traits are "blemishes of individual character perceived as a weak will, domineering, etc. such as suicide attempts and unemployment. Physical are the stigma of deformities of the body, while the stigma of group identity comes from being of a particular race, nation, religion, etc.

Stigma is about social control; its necessarily a social phenomenon. Without society, one cannot have the stigma, to have the stigma on must have stigmatizers and someone who is stigmatized (Bountless, 2016). As such, this is a dynamic and social relationship, thy raise social relationships not in the sense of deviant traits but in the perception of making certain traits deviant by a second party. Stigma depends on an individuals perception of another personal and their knowledge of the stigmatized is also necessarily imbued with relations of power, it works to control deviant members of the population and encourage conformity.

With a high percentage of the rural inhabitants being the original inhabitants of Australia, it is straightforward to say that they have suffered quite a lot in the hands of the majority or power. Being the deviant community, they were stigmatized by the Europeans and denied most of the necessities or a citizen for years. When you go through their history, you will realize a lot of difficulty here and there that made them be separated from the rest of the Australian communities. They were discriminated commonly by their culture and their refusal to conform to the colonial standards. This created a huge gap in all sectors including health, education, and development among many others.

Following these stigmatizations, they developed certain traits to protect themselves from the social structures that were demeaning them. Their choices were shaped by the context hence this brought about the sociology of imagination. This tends to explain that a lot of the problems people face in the current society has social roots and are shared by many others. The sources are related to te social structures and the changes happening within. For instance, unemployment can be extremely detrimental private experience and the feeling of personal failure when one loses a job, but when there is a high percentage like in the case of the rural communities in Australia, it seizes to be as a result of character flaw or weakness. When many people face the same issue in society, they start questioning social structures that may have led to such occurrences. However, the idea of socio imagination shouldnt be used as an excuse by individuals who do not try harder to achieve success in life. Some misuse the concept as a way of running away from personal responsibilities however they don't realize that some people do everything right, like getting an education, working hard and getting a job.

There is a commemorated social imagination among the rural and remote areas of Australia towards their current state, hence they have instead found comfort in their desperation but instead of creating a strong personality (which 's hard to achieve but few have) out of the social injustices they have fallen into common stereotypes that they are described with. These are examples of : they have short lives and higher rates of disease and injury, the mortality increases with increased remoteness these are brought about by high levels of obesity, smoking, inactivity, cholesterol levels, risky alcohol consumption, rates of preventable hospitalization and poorer access to aged care (Australia Health, 2014). They also have higher levels of disease risk factors and illnesses.

Australia health in brief 2014

Emotional labor is a concept created by Hochschild concerning service workers especially debt collectors and flight attendants, to name the emotion-based skills involved in many modern occupations, to handle customers and clients (Hochschild, 1983). It refers to certain jobs that employees are required to use but consequently controls their emotions when dealing with their clients. She broke with the outdated view of emotions derived from ancient Rome which stigmatized them as diseases of the mind (Averill, 1996).

Because of the lower life expectancy and higher mortality and morbidity, grief is a common emotion among aboriginal people and other rural populations in Australia. With all the factors listed above, these people face a lot of emotional labor especially when they are supposed to maintain a certain level of professionalism in their occupation. This is made harder by the societal stereotypes that have been implanted upon them

These rural and remote areas are prone to natural disasters and climate change, like the frequent Australian bushfires, drought, and floods. This has often caused water shortages and declined food production. At the same time state of Queensland experienced severe flooding known as "Queensland big wet" in the recent past. Outcomes for climatic events have concluded loss of...

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