Sample Sociology Essay Paper on Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health

Health is a wide term that includes all aspects of the human being: physical, mental, emotional, and psychological. Social determinants of health are the elements that influence health whose origin is in the social construct of a neighborhood. Explicitly, this idea is inclusive of the conditions surrounding an individual’s birth, growth, employment, and maturity. Social mostly refers to the surrounding and its organization. As such, social determinants of health have to do with health determinants that emanate from the surrounding environment; both physical and non-physical. However, social human factors have a more profound impact on health. Social determinants of health include employment conditions, social exclusion, women and gender equity, early child development, globalization, health systems, and urbanization (“About social determinants of health,” 2017).

Employment conditions in this age and time are directly proportional to health conditions. Persons with good jobs are able to afford good healthcare and hence maintain good health conditions. Moreover, most lucrative jobs nowadays even cover the cost of healthcare. Contrastingly, poor employment conditions carry an inherent ripple effect that results in poor health outcomes. Worse still, the threat of unemployment is also existent and can cause adverse health outcomes. The type of jobs also determines health status. Some jobs expose the workers to health threats including terminal illnesses like miners. Social exclusion is the deliberate act of denying someone a chance to participate in an action that is social in nature. Social exclusion has affected mostly women and children. The adverse effects of this social health determinant include limited or no access to affordable education and health facilities. Since knowledge informs health decisions, then an uneducated individual will fall short in some aspect of their health. Social exclusion is often propagated based on income, occupational status, and social networks including race, religion, and gender.

The issue of women and gender equality has often been considered on an economic basis and seldom on a health basis. Women in some social constructs have to bear with poor health outcomes because they are often denied their right to health. Worse still, some backgrounds even engender health systems and research thus looking out the women. The mental effects of gender inequality also go unrealized yet with very damaging outcomes. A good number of women end up committing suicide because of gender bias and prejudice. Early child development if properly handled can have a lasting positive impact on a babies’ health. Children that are immunized have a higher chance of experiencing better health than those that are not.

The effects of globalization stem from the unequal distribution of resources between the gainers and the losers. This interaction often leaves efficient first-world countries benefiting while their third-world counterparts lose. This loss is often transferred to the countries’ sectors with health being one of the most affected. As such, civilians have to do with lack poorly maintained health institutions lacking vital equipment. Globalization also leads to the dumping of unhealthy medications in the markets of third-world countries. Urbanization, mostly due to the concentration of resources results in the growth of slums with very poor living conditions and hence poor health outcomes.   

Social determinants of health provide a picture of the real causes of poor health outcomes making it easier for policymakers to make informed decisions aimed at alleviating poor health. This idea can also be used to determine the root causes of the homeless population. Since people are social in nature, homelessness also emanates from certain unaddressed social elements. Like poor health, homelessness will result from employment conditions, social exclusion, urbanization, gender inequality, and health conditions. As such, developing a programme aimed to address the homelessness menace should be well informed based on these determinants. The program should consider the following five components: income, inclusion, urbanization, gender, and racial equality, and health.

The primary reason behind homelessness in Seattle is the high cost of housing (Stringfellow & Wagle, n.d.). This means that some income earners are not able to make enough to afford a house. Worse still, landing a job is not that easy in Seattle. As such, only individuals with decent employment are able to afford to house. Tackling employment menace can result in favorable housing outcomes for the homeless. The authorities should strive to encourage the creation of affordable housing by changing zoning laws and increasing density. The proposed head tax that was repelled after two months should also be reinstated since it can help reduce the severity of the housing problem although by a small margin. Seattle should seek to create a source of income to the jobless since this may enable them to even afford a tent to put over their head.

Urbanization is often praised for the developments in infrastructure that it brings. However, history has taught that every urban center gives rise to a slum nearby as the bourgeoisie will require the proletariat. The former often make huge profits and push housing costs up especially in Seattle considering the presence of giant firms like Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Boeing (Rufo, 2019). The persons unable to even land these proletariat positions have no choice but to turn to beg or illegal activities in an effort to make ends meet. Policymakers should think of a way of dealing with this inherent urbanization problem. The third component of this program would be addressing equality problems, mainly racial inequality. All races must have an equal and fair chance at landing a job. The rationale behind this act would be to ensure that the neglected races, mainly the African Americans and the Hispanics, can get jobs that fit their qualifications. Gender inequality also deserves a closer look. Lastly, health plays a big role in making people homeless not just in Seattle but also in the whole world. The reason being sick people cannot work and thereby become dependents. When their caretakers abscond their duties, the sick have no other alternative but to go to the streets. Some disabled persons have also had to suffer this unfortunate turn of events. Seattle should institute ways of helping the sick and destitute like orphans who cannot fend for themselves.                      

This model is sufficiently effective in mitigating the homelessness problem since it tackles the issue from the root causes. Simply buying houses and giving it to the homeless is not a sustainable solution since it deals with the effects of the problem. The only other action apart from this that can be advantageous is providing cheap and affordable education especially on entrepreneurship and creating a favorable economic environment for businesses to start and grow. This would change people’s perspective from employment and hence ease the pressure on employment. This model will also take a long time before its benefits can be realized as opposed to the quick-fix solution availed by buying houses for the homeless.

Total Word Count 1134

References

About social determinants of health. (2017, September 25). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/social_determinants/sdh_definition/en/

Rufo, C. F. (2019, January 03). Seattle under Siege. Retrieved from https://www.city-journal.org/seattle-homelessness

Stringfellow, M., & Wagle, D. (n.d.). The economics of homelessness in Seattle and King County. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-cities/the-economics-of-homelessness-in-seattle-and-king-county