BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Archive for September, 2016

In the simplest form, culture may be defined as a people’s way of life; it includes the norms, values and beliefs of a particular group of people which govern their behaviors and attitudes. As we already know of many different factors, our culture or way of life can influence our health. Culture affects health in that what we believe and our way of life can hinder or promote our access to healthcare services, compliance to drugs and treatment regimen, the way we treat our bodies, the heath choices we make, our readiness to seek help and even our willingness to recover from an illness.

Various ethnic groups have their own perspectives, belief systems and values that help them understand what causes illness, how it should be treated, and who or what should be involved in the treatment process. Many times, these views about health differ from the western views and may create barriers between patients and providers from different cultural backgrounds. Culture and diversity are very important in all areas healthcare, so, it is essential for health educators and professionals to understand how the culture of their respective audience and patients may influence their attitude towards health.

In closing, if our way of life or what we believe can affect our health, then it has the potential to create poor health outcomes and health disparities. It is therefore our responsibility to find out any cultural practice, value or belief that limits our potential for optimal health and get rid of it. I must say… if it doesn’t help you, it probably hurts you!

Health and Income



Do you know that our income can determine our health? yes, we may not be able to afford some basic needs due to the amount of money we make. Let’s look at a quick illustration…

Mr. A was admitted to the hospital…

Why was he admitted?

He was admitted because he has cholera…

Why does he have cholera?

He has cholera because he drank water contaminated by the infectious agent, Vibrio cholerae…

Why was his drinking water contaminated?

His drinking water was contaminated because he lives in the dirtiest and poorest part of the city…

Why does he live in that part of the city?

He lives in that part of the city because that is what he can afford based on his INCOME!

Now, if we meet Mr. A in the hospital and he tells us he has cholera, we will not immediately understand the basic reason why he has the disease. However, if we can ask the question, “why?” a few times in every health situation, we will discover that they are usually rooted in one or more of the social determinants of health. Even though it’s not immediately obvious, income is a major determinant of heath and a root cause of health disparities.

Someone might wonder… what on earth does health have to do with politics? In case you are that someone, please read on to find out!

To begin with, health policies which are decisions, laws and actions taken to achieve specific goals in health systems, are driven by politics, parties and politicians. The governing power or authority significantly influences what happens in the health care system by determining the budget allocated to health and healthcare. They also decide the type of healthcare delivery, availability of subsidies and possibly, the availability of healthcare workers.

Laws and regulations at the federal, state and local levels of government all impact conditions that influence the health status of people and their communities. For example, a health policy that promotes free HIV testing by covering the costs and providing necessary information or support, will encourage individuals to get tested, get treated and live longer!

Therefore, it is crucial to develop policies at all levels of government that promote health and prevent conditions that threaten the life and safety of individuals and communities. Finally, inequalities in health outcomes have been associated with differences in health policies… so if these inequalities are to be eliminated, their causes- which include poor health policies and politics- must be eliminated. Keep this in mind when voting!

Since we already know what health is, let us take a look at globalization… Globalization is the process whereby humans, animals, information and trade move throughout the world, increasing interaction and integration between countries, cultures, views, policies, and economies (see:
Ever wondered how fast diseases spread and travel these days or how to remain healthy in a globalized world? With airplanes crossing continents and people going places, any infection or disease can become pandemic in a matter of hours! It is much more difficult to control infections and diseases in a globalizing or globalized world because public health is situated within the dynamic forces of positive and negative global development.
Thankfully, globalization can have significant benefits to health; for one, the speed with which information travels affords us the luxury to hear about disease risks and ways of protecting ourselves. In addition, there is evidence that openness to people and trade is good for social and economic growth!