Introduction to Public Health

Public health is a branch of science which deals with prevention of diseases thereby, increasing the life expectancy of all the individuals in the overall population. Contemporary public health refers to management strategies which are applied for prevention of various types of diseases within a population. It also aims at improving healthcare services by enhancing and increasing higher standards of living (Chrystyn, Small and Estruch, 2014).  It also focuses on different social and economical variables of health prevailing in today's generation which has both positive and negative impact on healthcare practices and services. It identifies methods and plans to implement community oriented primary care to all the individuals living in UK. Throughout the history, public health organisations have been focussing on reducing and preventing communicable, non-communicable, viral, bacterial and biological diseases (Gurman, Lebow and Snyder, 2015).

The report focuses on the prevalence of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorders in Contemporary UK society. Further it will also study different health inequalities which is concerned with the vulnerable group or diseased group of people residing in UK. The report will also explore different health outcomes due to inequalities and various strategies adopted to reduce these discrimination in UK.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in UK.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in UK is one of the most common and prevalent respiratory disease which starts affecting individuals after the age of 32-35 years.  Most of the cases of COPD are not diagnosed before the age of 50 years. Every year more than 3 million people are affected with COPD but only 27% of individuals are diagnosed in UK (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 2016). The main reason behind this is that many people confuse the COPD symptoms with smoker's cough. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a syndrome of various diseases including, asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and  lung disorders.

1. Extent of and character of health inequalities referring to vulnerable groups in relation to COPD in UK.

Health inequalities exists in all parts of the world with an increasing percentage in countries like, UK, Scotland, Ireland and European countries (Hoaas, Andreassen and Zanaboni, 2016). Although various health organizations such as NHS, local health authorities and education have helped in tackling health inequalities in relation to COPD but there is a greater need to increase the strategies in order to prevent discriminations at healthcare level in UK. The extent and character of different health inequalities in relation to COPD are discussed below.

  • UK is not only the country which is suffering from health inequalities, but there are many other countries in the world who are subjected to inequalities in health sector (Hurst, Elborn and De Soyza, 2015).
  • The most important reason behind health equations and inequalities is the presence of socio-economic groups that exist in different parts of the country.
  • Individuals suffering from COPD in UK have higher potential for assets in diagnosis and treatment which indirectly affects the health of vulnerable group (James, Petersen and Donaldson, 2013).
  • There are many reasons which contribute to health inequalities in UK. The foremost reason is the difference in socio-economic class . All individuals are born with different physiological stock which gradually depreciates with time (Lippiett, Gillett and Wilkinson, 2015).
  • Diet, stress, smoking habits and exercises are also included in factors which contribute towards health inequalities in UK (McMichael, 2013).
  • Income, socio-economic groups, employment status, per capita income and educational attainment are some variables which account for increasing inequalities in UK. These discriminations have been narrowed in recent times but over the last ten years health inequalities increased (Navarro, Kohl and Markel, 2016).
  • The study suggested that discrimination in relation to COPD in UK have been increased to 13% in women and 7% in men by the end of 2011.
  • These are not only noticed in individuals with socio-economic differences but it is also very common in gender variations, ethnic groups, elderly people and individuals suffering from mental health problems and learning impairments (Network, 2015).
  • There is a greater need of subjecting different types of laws and policies which can effectively eradicate the health inequalities.  Discrimination at healthcare level is also one of the major reasons which has increased the mortality rate of COPD patients in recent years (Reducing health inequities, 2016).

2. Holistic factors that influence the health and level of COPD of vulnerable group in contemporary UK society

There are many factors which are responsible for influencing the level of COPD and health in population of UK suffering from COPD (Sørensen, Van den Broucke and Brand, 2012). This includes lack of proper knowledge, inadequate diagnosis and evaluation,lack of proper designs to diagnose and evaluate, improper communication and ethical issues.

  • Due to lack of knowledge about COPD many individuals are confused with the symptoms of COPD and smoker's cough. This further reduces the chances of diagnosis and recovery in individuals suffering from chronic disorders (Thomas, Radwan and Marshall, 2014).
  • Socio-economic difference in social groups is on of the most important reason which influences the health in population of UK. People with low economic backgrounds are not given assistance and treatment which further deteriorate the health conditions (Tiwari, 2016).
  • A larger percentage of men are reported to suffer from COPD as compared to women. Although the rate of females getting infected with COPD is much higher than men in UK.
  • Gender variations and inequalities is also one of the prominent reason which influences the level of COPD in both males and females (Chrystyn, Small and Estruch, 2014).
  • Most of the cases of COPD and asthma in UK are not reported due to economic and social variability that exist in UK. People who have assets and income to follow up the treatment affects the vulnerable group in negative ways.
  • According to baseline data and sources, a study suggested that out of 3 millions who suffer from COPD every year in UK 12% of the cases are left unreported and undiagnosed due to economic and social backwardness among different social groups that exist in UK (James, Petersen and Donaldson, 2013).
  • The main reason which COPD in individuals is excessive smoking habits and chewing of tobacco. 90% of the people who suffer from the major symptoms of COPD are likely to be unaware of reasons which causes COPD.
  • Ethical issues and existence of inequality is also one of the factors which influence the lifestyle, level of disease and health in the overall population of UK (Lippiett, Gillett and Wilkinson, 2015). It has been reported that certain developed areas of UK are supported  and provided better healthcare services to all the people who are diagnosed with COPD.
  • On other hand regions and areas which are under developed and poverty ridden lack all the healthcare assistance and facilities which decreases the health issues in UK.

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3. Competing explanations for inequalities of health outcomes and describe possible methods for  reducing them

Due to the existing health inequalities among different social groups the health issues have been consistently rising (Thomas, Radwan and Marshall, 2014). Government of UK should enact and implement different methods and strategies to reduce the health inequalities related to COPD in UK. Different techniques and methods have been incorporated to address the issue of discrimination at healthcare level.

  • Inequalities in the field of health is generally noticed due to difference in various distributions. UK is one of the countries which suffers from this issue because low income generation in some  areas of the country contribute to unfair healthcare service distributions (Network, 2015).
  • 25% of the global disease burden is subjected due to economical and social distributions which exist in major parts of UK.
  • Only 3% of the total global health expenditure is accounted for healthcare services which drastically affects the individuals suffering from COPD and other communicable and non-contagious diseases (Gurman, Lebow and Snyder, 2015).
  • In recent times, UK government has launched health inequalities prevention programs to address the serious issues in all the parts of UK. An inter-sectoral coordination is required among different healthcare organisations and local authorities to completely eradicate the inequalities caused due to gender and socio-economic factors.
  • In order to reduce health issue problems specially in relation to COPD in UK it is very important to improve the monitoring systems which can report number of patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease each year in the country (Tiwari, 2016).
  • A checklist of diagnosed individuals with COPD should also be maintained by the local healthcare authorities so that effective treatment is provided to them.
  • Different reasons which causes increased COPD cases should be addressed to create an awareness among the citizens of all ages. It will help in reducing the rate of people suffering from this disease each year.
  • Government should implement policies which supports and provides equal healthcare facilities to all the people irrespective of gender, annual income and social background (McMichael, 2013).

4. Appraise public health strategies which contribute to the health, development and well-being of individuals, and communities

Reducing health inequalities will directly contribute in increasing the healthcare facilities in whole population of UK (Navarro, Kohl and Markel, 2016). A  diseased free healthy society can only be created by elimination the differences at gender, economic and social level. Different public health strategies which can implemented to enhance health and development and well-being at individual and communal level are discussed below.

  • There is an urgent need for UK government to target those areas and communities which are underdeveloped or considered as rural areas.
  • Local authorities and healthcare organisations should make efforts to regain trust among individuals who are residing in economically backward regions by providing them quality healthcare services and assistance (Chrystyn, Small and Estruch, 2014).
  • It is very necessary to maintain a connectivity and build strong relationship among members of different social groups sot that the well-being of the overall population is increased.
  • There is a great need of developing social and emotional awareness so that individuals are capable of handling various issues independently.
  • Various health promoting factors should be identified by healthcare professionals and care homes to support the health and well being of the citizens of UK (Hurst, Elborn and De Soyza, 2015).
  • Effective policies and laws should be developed by healthcare legislations which help in tackling and eradicating inequalities present in healthcare sectors.
  • The shortcomings and factors which contribute in reducing healthcare services should be identified so that the quality of services provided to individuals is not compromised (Tiwari, 2016).
  • It is very necessary to develop strategies which are sustainable. It should be ensured that the health outcomes produced by following strategies should not create a negative impact on lives of the people in UK (James, Petersen and Donaldson, 2013).
  • A Multi-strategy should be designed by the healthcare organisation which can include training on weekly basis to increase the awareness among all the individuals living in rural and backward communities.
  • All the possible outcomes and influences should be taken into account to address all various dimensions of healthcare issues which exist in UK.
  • Inter-sectoral coordination and working is very important to promote better health care services to all the individuals who are suffering from different diseases (Thomas, Radwan and Marshall, 2014).

CONCLUSION

The above report mainly focussed on different issues related to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in UK. It included different variables and extent of health inequalities in relation to COPD that affects the vulnerable group. It also focussed on various Holistic factors that influence the health and level of COPD of vulnerable group in contemporary UK society. The study included different types of inequalities which were based on gender, socio-economic backgrounds, under-developed areas and communities  in different part of the country. All these characteristics have played a major role in increasing the health inequalities in recent times. The report also contained a detailed study on different methods and strategies implemented by the government of UK to reduce the health issues related to COPD. At last, the report was concluded by the study based on various public health strategies and policies developed which can contribute and enhance the health, development and well-being at individual and communal level in UK.

REFERENCES

  • Chrystyn, H., Small, M. and Estruch, J., 2014. Impact of patients' satisfaction with their inhalers on treatment compliance and health status in COPD. Respiratory medicine. 108(2). pp.358-365.
  • Gurman, A.S., Lebow, J. and Snyder, D.K., 2015. Clinical handbook of couple therapy. Guilford Publications.
  • Hoaas, H., Andreassen, H.K. and Zanaboni, P., 2016. Adherence and factors affecting satisfaction in long-term telerehabilitation for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a mixed methods study. BMC medical informatics and decision making. 16(1). pp.12-15.
  • Hurst, J.R., Elborn, J.S. and De Soyza, A., 2015. COPD–bronchiectasis overlap syndrome. European Respiratory Journal. 45(2). pp.310-313.
  • James, G.D.R., Petersen, I. and Donaldson, G.C., 2013. Use of long-term antibiotic treatment in COPD patients in the UK: a retrospective cohort study. Primary Care Respiratory Journal. 22(3). pp.271-277.
  • Lippiett, K., Gillett, K. and Wilkinson, T., 2015. Identifying undiagnosed COPD through searches of UK routine primary care databases. European Respiratory Journal. 46(59). pp.338.
  • McMichael, A.J., 2013. Globalization, climate change, and human health. New England Journal of Medicine. 368(14). pp.1335-1343.
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