by Meg Dillon

All Disciplines, All Destinations, Clinical Features

OUTREACH

In the UK, between 2015–17, those living in the least deprived areas could expect to live roughly 19 more years in good health than those living in the most deprived areas.

Health inequities are unfair and avoidable differences in health status between different groups of people, often due to factors outside of their control. 

These systematic differences can be seen in a person’s overall health, the care they receive and the opportunities available to them in order to lead healthy lives.

What causes health inequities? 

There’s no one cause of health inequities. 

It is the result of a number of social factors and conditions. A person’s education, employment status, income level, gender and ethnicity all have a significant influence on how healthy they are.

In England, some ethnic groups are more likely to live in more deprived areas than others. 

One report indicates that ‘over 50% of people in the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups lived in the most deprived 20% of areas in England in 2011.’ 

How does this relate to health inequities? Research suggests that those living in more deprived areas will experience poorer health outcomes compared to those living in less deprived areas.

VILLAGE Healthcare EXPERIENCE

How does it relate to global health? 

87% of premature deaths due to noncommunicable diseases occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Take the statistic mentioned above, for example. According to the World Health Organization, NCDs cause significantly more damage to individuals, and the wider society in low-income countries, than elsewhere; 

In low-resource settings, healthcare costs for NCDs can quickly drain household resources, driving families into poverty. The exorbitant costs of NCDs are forcing millions of people into poverty annually, stifling development.

The unequal distribution of income, power and wealth are fundamental causes of health inequities – leading to the marginalisation of individuals and groups. 

And the disparities in income, education, government corruption, housing and sanitation between some countries are huge. 

And the result? Significant differences in life expectancy rates, infant mortality rates, instances of communicable diseases due to poor sanitation and growing rates of obesity resulting from poor diet.

PLACEMENT

How are global health inequities being tackled?

Health inequities result in large social and economical costs to individuals, societies and countries. 

Evidence of this was seen during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The repercussions of the pandemic were catastrophic across the globe. But, it’s no secret that some countries were hit harder than others – socially and economically.

The pandemic shone a light on global health inequities and the disparities that persist between countries. 

The World Health Organization continues to stress the importance of countries working together in order to improve worldwide health security. To do so, they’ll be helping countries to build strong health systems and healthy populations by:

  • Speeding up access to tests, vaccines and medicines 
  • Leading a global campaign to strengthen the global health workforce
  • Providing global leadership on science and data
  • Re-focusing efforts on tackling communicable diseases 
  • Combating drug resistance
  • Preventing and treat NCDs and mental health conditions
  • Focusing efforts on climate change and health, reducing air pollution and improving air quality

OUTREACH

Why is global health important for you as a healthcare student?

As a healthcare student, gaining a global health perspective, and even seeing the impacts of health inequities firsthand, will open your eyes beyond the well-equipped healthcare system that you’re used to. 

Understanding the issues faced by other countries is extremely beneficial to your learning, and will be essential later down the line in your career. 

You’ll have a better understanding of how to improve the delivery of healthcare. And understand how policies can shape this, both nationally and internationally.

Experience it for yourself

On an overseas placement, you’ll see firsthand how global health inequities are affecting healthcare systems and subsequently how these are impacting communities and individuals in low-resource countries. 

You’ll experience how healthcare professionals tackle health inequities and come face-to-face with global health issues in the field. 

Travel with Work the World and you’ll see how a country’s landscape can play a part in health inequities. When a landscape is mostly rural, much of the population are required to travel great distances for medical care. The costs involved mean patients often delay the inevitable, resulting in late presentations and advanced conditions. 

Anna Kersch (KERSCH23587)

You’ll also see firsthand how overcrowding and poor housing and sanitation can impact health inequities. In some of the larger cities, the more economically disadvantaged areas struggle with regular outbreaks of communicable diseases, such as cholera, malaria and TB.

An overseas placement, no matter where you choose to travel to, is a chance to challenge yourself and gain a completely new perspective on healthcare that will benefit your learning and your future career.

To learn more about our overseas placements and how we can tailor your experience to suit your clinical goals and needs, get in touch via the enquiry form.

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STARTED

Want to experience a life-changing overseas placement? Choose your discipline to get started. 

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