The Interrelationships of Socio-cultural Influences in Healthcare
Health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental, social, and emotional wellbeing and not just the absence of infirmity. According to the World Health Organization (2017), this is consistent with the biopsychosocial model of health which considers physiological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors in influencing health, and the interrelationships between these factors.
This WHO definition links health with wellbeing and conceptualizes the availability of social, cultural, and physical resources to achieve and maintain health.
Sentinel City Demography
A virtual simulation of Sentinel City identified various issues related to health needs and the population demography. Sentinel city is an urban community with four neighborhoods. the neighborhood includes; Casper Park district, Industrial heights, Acer Tech Center, and Nightingale square.
People are distributed within the neighborhood according to their socioeconomic status and the ability to access healthcare. A total of 666,862 residents lives within Sentinel City (Chircop & Cobbett, 2020). Different racial and ethnic people live in the neighborhoods including Caucasians, Hispanics, African Americans, and American Indians. Caucasians form the highest population group contributing to 80% of the population (Chircop & Cobbett, 2020).
The Hispanics and the African Americans come second and third respectively. The Caucasians inhabit the improved and wealthy neighborhoods of Nightingale square while most Hispanics and African Americans live within poverty-stricken areas of Industrial heights.
Various age groups are distributed within the population. Individuals below 18 years form the highest percentage (21%) while below 5 years population forms 7%, and 10% is formed by those above 65 years (Chircop & Cobbett, 2020). The geographical distribution also exists.
Casper Park holds the highest population of 365,587 and it’s the second in terms of median income with 1.5% of individuals without insurance. Industrial Heights harbors the lowest population of 24,672 with the lowest median income and highest number of uninsured individuals.
Nightingale Square harbors the second largest population and has the highest median income with the least people who are uninsured (Chircop & Cobbett, 2020). The large population in Nightingale are Caucasians with fewer African Americans. The population distribution, level of income, and insurance determine the health of the population.
My journey through Sentinel city led to the identification of major health hazards. An observation from the Industrial height revealed health hazards. The area contained numerous old cracked houses and the sanitation was poor. The iron sheets were grafted with overcrowded houses.
Garbage was recklessly thrown around houses and rats were widely distributed over trash. The sewage system was poorly drained and a foul smell emanated from all over. Members of the area moved around with buckets going to search for clean water. On the other hand, the Nightingale Square area was clean and well organized with most residents living in good refurbished houses.
The presence of or sanitation, overcrowded cracked houses, and lack of clean water are major health hazards (Chircop & Cobbett, 2020). The findings also revealed that the majority of the population were poor people of Hispanic and African American origin.
Most people used public transport as a mode of transport. This was supported by the presence of many bus stations and the crowded population over bus stations. Bicycle riding was prevalent in the streets with people of various age groups and sexual orientation engaging in bicycle riding. Some individuals could be seen running and walking along the pedestrian strips.
There were few recreational centers for recreational purposes and children could be seen playing in the field. Though there was no enough space to establish centers for recreation such as football fields, swimming pools, and runways for exercises.
Sentinel city being an urban center, there were fewer trees available on the way leading to the city. Some trees could be seen on the periphery areas while this changed towards the city. People were active in the city doing various activities.
Some people could be seen walking around while others were seen in groups taking illicit drugs. Tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking were prevalent in the industrial heights area. Along the road, there were various health clinics and nursing homes and some were crowded with individuals who sought care. Billboards were erected towards the city which displayed health-related education on a healthy diet and the importance of physical activity.
Common Health Burden Diseases
The common health problems identified in the area are illicit drug use, poor environmental sanitation, and sexually transmitted infections. Most of these health problems were experienced by the low socioeconomic population from Industrial Heights. This may be attributed to a lack of morals and poor health-seeking behavior evident in the poverty-stricken population.
Gonorrhea was the major STI in individuals between 18-27 years. Most of the patients came from Industrial heights (Zajacova & Lawrence, 2018). Chlamydia was the most causative organism that was identified. This now leaves the question of either inadequate sex education, inadequate protective measures, or irresponsible sexual behaviors as the major cause of the rising cases (Islam, 2019). Healthy people state that “engaging in responsible sexual behavior prevents STD leading to better health”.
The presence of garbage thrown everywhere near the houses possess a risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases. The area most affected was industrial height and this is dangerous to the inhabitants. Healthy people mention the importance of a clean environment to better health. Therefore, a call to proper waste disposal is relevant to reduce health hazards.
The use of illicit drugs was common among youths from Industrial Heights. Tobacco smoking was the leading substance abused followed by marijuana and heroin injection. This practice is dangerous to the health of smokers and non-smokers (Zajacova & Lawrence, 2018). Quitting smoking has been attributed to better health and the prevention of respiratory diseases.
The health conditions present in Sentinel city are preventable. Coming up with preventive measures are will help in reducing the problems. Carrying out community education on safe sex practices, quitting smoking, and safe waste disposal on prevention of diseases (Zajacova & Lawrence, 2018). Prevention is better than cure, therefore, these measures will reduce disease occurrence.
The virtual touring of Sentinel city helped in the identification of demographic, economic, environmental, and social-cultural influences on health. The poor are prone to many diseases due to inadequate funds and poor health-seeking behavior. Putting prevention measures and early treatment is necessary for improving health.
Chircop, A., & Cobbett, S. (2020). Gett’n on the bus: evaluation of Sentinel City®3.0 virtual simulation in community/population health clinical placement. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1515/ijnes-2019-0109
World Health Organization. (2017). Determinants of Health. Who.Int. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/determinants-of-health
Islam, M. M. (2019). Social determinants of health and related inequalities: Confusion and implications. Frontiers in Public Health, 7, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2019.00011
Zajacova, A., & Lawrence, E. M. (2018). The relationship between education and health: Reducing disparities through a contextual approach. Annual Review of Public Health, 39, 273–289. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031816-044628