1. Select one important sustainability issue of global significance and express this issue in no more than one short sentence .
Note: you cannot select ‘climate change’ (or global warming) as your sustainability issue as this is the issue chosen for the demonstration example provided in the online discussion.
2. Describe the main environmental elements of your chosen global sustainability issue .
3. Describe the critical social elements of this global sustainability issue.
4. Describe the key economic elements of this global sustainability issue.
5. Identify two major ethical problems which are strongly connected with your chosen global sustainability issue.
1. Health care is a key sustainability issue with significant global impact.
2. The following are the environmental elements attributed to Health Care with significant global impact. Most of these issues are interrelated with the decline associated with environmental degradation. Global healthcare industry consumes a lot of energy, minerals, and resources generated from the environment (Mohr man, 2012). This calls for all the stakeholders in health from governments. International non-governmental institutions and policymakers take a long-term approach to the elements in the environment that affect the health sector.
Environmental pollution from healthcare institutions’ wastage
Health care services damage the environment when waste products are not disposed of properly. Some of the wastes are infectious and hazardous like heavy metals. To some extent, these heavy metals like lead metal have proved to have a long-term effect on the environment affecting crops and animals mostly in developing countries. Apart from affecting the environment, also poor disposal of human tissues and waste like blood can lead to spread of epidemics (McMurray, A., 2014).
When proper care isn’t in place during incineration like separating polyvinyl chlorine carcinogenic dioxins which are harmful to the environment are released (Rosenberg-Yunger, Z., et. al., 2008). Health care service providers like medical research institutions, hospitals, and pharmaceutical organizations have been advised to take diligent care in waste management to reduce environmental degradation and pollution.
Energy consumption is also very heavy in the healthcare industry. This affects the environment negatively if proper measures are not put in place how the wastes are remitted to the environment. This has proved to cause serious ozone layers challenges affecting the environment.
Natural Resources and Minerals Depletion
Health care providers rely heavily on natural resources and materials in developing curative and preventive products (McIntyre, D., 2012). For instance, most of the medicines used in health services are made from natural resources. Although there has been little study at an empirical level on the level of environment depletion caused by over mining of these products (McMurray, A., 2014). Effects to the environment have been felt mostly in developing countries where these minerals are mined from. In some cases the environment has been severely affected leading to poor nutrition in crops, hence having malnourished societies.There have also been fears of extinction of some rare metals and minerals used in pharmaceutical products (Mohrman, S., 2012). This has called for responsible mining and regulation in the environment to safeguard future generation’s health care.
3. Critical Social Elements of Sustainable Healthcare
Social issues in health care are structured according to different societies and they differ from one community to another. These issues originate from myths or beliefs that particular communities do have. Some have proven to be beneficial while others are detrimental to the health industry and recipients of the health care (Sahay, S., 2014).
Religious Practices and Beliefs
Most democratic societies allow freedom of belief and practices despite affecting the development of sustainable healthcare negatively. Some religious beliefs do encourage practices that encourage the spread of transmittable diseases. Like a community being prohibited from using prevention during sexual intercourse. This has greatly contributed to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. This prevents achievement of sustainable global health care.
Outdated traditional practices in developing countries, like female genital mutation, affects the reproductive health of women (Sahay, S., 2014). This has been a big challenge during childbirth and maternity. Some social practices like polygamy also affect health care. Having many sex partners increases the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. In developing countries, some societies still believe in traditional healing practices. They believe in rituals as a solution to health care. This has greatly affected the spread of sustainable health in the world.
Illiteracy & Poverty
Societies with high levels of illiteracy and poverty are usually resistant to progressive healthcare solutions (McMurray, A., 2012). This is evident in maternal health where mothers fail to observe proper pre-natal and post-natal care. The biggest challenge associated with poverty is where individuals are unable to afford expensive health services and products. Poor societies lack proper healthcare specialists and facilities.
Societies that have been ravaged by war or extremists suffer from poor health care. This is evident in failed states and extremists regions. When a society is at war with its neighbors or within itself, health care suffers.
4. Key Economic Elements of Sustainable Healthcare
Economics in health care is closely associated with policy issues. The policy comes from leadership which leads to political goodwill. These economic issues in health care are as follows;
Budget and Financial Allocation
In most countries and jurisdictions healthcare budget is constrained. There is a need for more funds to be allocated to Non-Communicable Diseases like diabetes and cancer. Most of these diseases are lifestyle associated. If more funds are allocated to educate the public on healthy lifestyles, the world will witness a reduction in non-communicable diseases (Sahay, S., 2014).
Research and healthcare institutions should also be adequately funded to ensure quality service provision. The biggest challenge has been some of the investments in healthcare have been done mostly with private institutions that are after profits and not benefiting the society.
Risky Products Control
Organizations that produce products that directly or indirectly cause health challenges should be controlled. This is evident in tobacco products which are the main cause of cancer (Faff, R. W., 2009). The biggest challenge with tobacco is that it pays heavy taxes to governments. From the economic perspective, it helps governments to run its operations but causing health problems. This also applies to alcohol manufacturers.
Mostly in developing countries and low-income regions, health care is a big challenge. Special attention should be directed to these regions by governments and development agencies.
Adequate Surveillance and Mentoring
Funding should be directed towards proper public health surveillance and monitoring, this will ensure trends are monitored. Early innervations also make economic sense as its less costly unlike dealing with a full epidemic.
Subsidizing Healthcare Products and Services
Healthcare is very expensive in most parts of the globe. Despite different administrations cautioning its citizenry still, a lot needs to be done. Specialized treatment is a very big challenge to developing countries that have to travel overseas for medication (Sahay, S., 2014).
5. Two Ethical Challenges associated with the Global Health Sustainability.
Ethical challenges facing sustainable healthcare depend from one region to another (Knoepfel, I., 2001). These are the principles and values of the healthcare industry and recipient societies that are preventing healthcare provision. They include the following:
- Universal human rights to healthcare.
- Social determinants factors to health care.
6. Universal human rights to healthcare
Every human being has a right to health care (Pierce, J., 2011). These are fundamental human right requirements in most countries. Human rights in health care include the right to proper and standard physical and mental health. Health care takes a very broad approach to universal human rights. Some of the issues involved in the cost of health care, nutrition and affordability. Governments should take into consideration the following measures in developing sustainable health care.
Health care should be structured to be accessible to everyone in the society. It’s unethical when only a select few are able to access health care. Accessibility to health care is a very big challenge in most developing countries which have limited resources. In developed countries like the USA universal health care is also a challenge to the unemployed (Butler, M., 2016). It’s not only wrong but also unethical to deny someone the right to healthcare.
Quality Health Care
Having the best health care is a must for all human beings. There is a big challenge in the provision of quality healthcare in most developing countries. Some of the challenges include lack of doctors, few hospitals, and clinics, lack of qualified doctors and specialists.
Healthcare that isn’t affordable poses a big challenge to human rights. Specialized treatment
is usually expensive in both communicable and non-communicable diseases. These problems have been compounded by pharmaceuticals charging very high prices for their products. It’s very unethical for multination’s in health care to be profit driven by the expenses of providing health care.
Health care should not discriminate against religion, gender or even sex. It’s very unethical where someone is prohibited from having health services due to his or her choice of lifestyle. In some instances, gender has proved to be a big hindrance in health provision.
Most of the decisions affecting health care must be done in consultations with all stakeholders involved. For example, in reproductive health, there have been ongoing debates on issues affecting maternal health. In areas with health pandemics like Ebola, public participation has also helped in its reduction.
Accountability and Transparency
Personal responsibility is required in all healthcare providers. This becomes ethical in cases where patients are affected due to negligence associated with healthcare providers. Also, openness and honesty in data collection are very important in healthcare.
It’s unethical when health care providers don’t respect the culture and beliefs of communities where they operate. This evident in situations where some communities stigmatize and discriminate patients with some conditions. Confidentiality with patients’ information is also very important.
Social Determinants Factors to Health Care
Social determinants are the issues that determine effective healthcare provision. Economic status determines the provision of health care in the society. This can include income and financial status of an individual.Closely linked to social determinants factors are public policy and legislation. Most governments determine what products used by citizens. Some of these products contributed to non-communicable diseases. Individual social determinant factors can also include the following.
- Stress levels
- Lifestyle choices
- Work-related issues like risk factors.
- Social security and support.
7. Sustainable Global Healthcare Challenges and Opportunities To Businesses
Businesses are investing in personal and public health to ensure that both their employees and customers are healthy. Most businesses would want to invest in companies that promote health care (Gola, M., 2015). This is evident as many businesses and individuals are getting involved in public health at the community, national and international levels. In the business field health care has faced the following opportunities (Sahay, S., 2014).
- Most businesses in their corporate social responsibility have invested heavily in public health, sponsoring research and actively participating in innervations in cases of epidemics and health calamities
- Some of the challenges to businesses include litigations from products sold to consumers. For example companies like Coke and MacDonald’s have been sued several times for promoting obesity-related diseases. This greatly affects businesses that have to advertise more and convince the public of the safety of their goods and services.
- Sustainable universal healthcare has also created many business opportunities in both the manufacturing and technology industry (Buffoli, M., 2013). New products have been introduced in the market helping in advancing sustainable healthcare.
Ethical Solutions to Challenges in the Provision of Global Sustainable Healthcare
Despite the many challenges facing sustainable global healthcare, there have been considerable breakthroughs in behavioral change, financial models and improved technology providing solutions (Braa, J., 2014). These challenges have been solved in the following ways.
Accessibility to Healthcare
This used to be a challenge, with innovations in technology healthcare can be transmitted faster in diagnosis and remote places can be reached through the internet in service delivery (Albers g., 2012). Financing models by government and financial institutions have ensured that more funds are allocated to healthcare hence increasing accessibility. Public health participation has educated most societies on the need to having healthy lifestyles which reduces illness.
Affordability of Healthcare
Financing and subsidizing medication for chronic diseases has made health care affordable (Berwick, D.M., 2013). This has also been aided by technology where information on the availability of healthcare is easily available to the public.
Investing in Healthcare
This approach has positively impacted sustainable healthcare by investing in research, training specialized consultants in medicine, and building and equipping health facilities with state of the art health equipment.
In developed countries, technological innovation has greatly improved healthcare (AnAaker, A., 2013). Although this is still a very big challenge in developing countries due to high levels of illiteracy and infrastructure challenges.Sustainable healthcare to be fully effected both the public and government stakeholders have to be engaged at the local, national and international level (Jameson, .2012).
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