|A shanty town in Manila, Phillipines, where poverty & related social conditions place inhabitants' health at greater risk. Photographer: Mike Gonzales, used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Photo accessed from Wikimedia Commons.|
Poverty & related social conditions are key factors in the health of people & nations. These are factors now faced across the world. NIGH seeks to tell the story of how to connect the dots between the social determinants of health & healthcare delivery, worldwide.
If prevention is the heart of public health, then equity is its soul, according Magaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, WHO.
Different national and international government policies, depending on their nature, can either improve or worsen health and health equity.
Poor economic policies and the current financial crisis are having a serious impact of the lives of nurses throughout the world. For instance, every aspect of government and the economy has the potential to affect health and the livelihood of nurses – finance, education, housing, employment, transport, and health, just to name a few. Coherent action across government, at all levels, is essential to improve the lives of nurses throughout the world and ensure health equity for all.
Throughout the world, World Bank's structural adjustment policies have eroded carefully created health programmes and the working conditions of nurses. They have led to drastic cuts in health budgets, laying off nurses and members of other essential workforces. The IMF policies have a direct impact on the health sector and its personnel. The real income of nurses has decreased, buying less with the same amount of money. Reduced government spending has resulted in downsizing much-needed health facilities. Says Rose Wanjiru, Policy Coordinator at ActionAid Kenya: “In Kenya, we have been able to train enough nurses and teachers, but they have remained unemployed. We have a requirement to have 70,000 health workers, but we have only employed 40,000. The remaining 30,000 are launching out, looking for other things and are looking for ways to get to the US or to Europe, and in the process, we have a lot of our investment lost.”
By Susan C. Benedict, CRNA, DSN, FAAN
Each graduate of the first-aid course for Dalits received a certificate of completion, a first responders kit and a widely used textbook titled Where There Is No Doctor. Like many Americans, I thought Gandhi had eradicated India’s Untouchables caste years ago. Unfortunately, although “untouchability” was abolished by law in 1955, it is very much alive in the rural areas of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and governs almost every aspect of life. The caste system is a socioeconomic tradition of placing people into hereditary categories. It is thought to have originated around 1500 B.C. as a means for prescribing economic and social order based upon occupation.Read more...
Visitors at the Mapparium in the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston, Massachusetts. This was the site to launch Dr. Jean Watson's Million Nurse Project—during the 2010 International Year of the Nurse—to radiate heart-centered Love, Caring and Compassion through individual and collective global meditations. Photo Courtesy of the Mary Baker Eddy Library.