The healthcare is one of the major needs of the developing society. The models of health are the set of framework of concepts defining health (Bowling 2014). The various types of the models of health include the Social Model of Health, Biomedical Model of Health and the Ottawa Charter for health promotion. These models help in developing and promoting healthcare in the society. The Social Model of Health suggests that a number of social factors of the environment in which the person lives influence the health of a person. The factors include individual, social, environmental, organizational, political and economic factors. The Biomedical Model of Health says that any health related problem affecting the body is always due to abnormalities in body workings. The change in the bodily functions causes disease and they can be cured with medical help. According to the Ottawa Charter, the health is the necessity for sustenance in the society and not just physical wellness of the person and therefore relates health to the overall lifestyle of the person as well as the medical facilities that can be availed (Glasby 2017). The essay take into account the Biomedical Model of Health and evaluates it is along with the criticism and supporting theories.
The Biomedical Model of Health treats illness as the malfunction of the bodily functions. The model uses a number of determinants to analyze the health of a person to justify the treatment of the person (Halfon et al. 2014). The Biomedical Model of Health treats the patient just as a sick physical body entity according to the signs of the illness shown by the person. There are various points that the Biomedical Theory of Health focuses on.
Firstly, the cause of illness is to be identified. Biomedical Model suggests that any illness caused to the body is due to some external pathogens of some physiological changes that occur in the body (Deacon 2013). The model suggests that the pathogenic invasions and the physiological changes in the body affect the functions of the body, thereby causing illness. The cause of the diseases may be hormonal or chemical imbalances, genetic predisposition, pathogens like virus or bacteria entering the body.
Secondly, in the model the victims are not considered responsible for their illness as the illness is caused due to the external factors affecting the internal functions of the body (de Brouwer et al. 2017). It does not take into account the different causal determinant, which may have led to the disease but as a glitch in the bodily functions as the cause of the disease.
Thirdly, the treatment of the illness is taken into consideration by the model. According to the different signs of illness shown by the patient, the different type of medical therapies can be used for the treatment of the patient. According to the functional issues faced by the patient, the various therapies that the model suggests include drug based treatment, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and vaccination. The model completely relies on the physical treatment of the illness in the hand of a responsible medical practitioner adept in their field (Bowling 2014).
According to the Biomedical Model, the health and illness are qualitative opposites of each other. The person is either healthy or sick; there are no grey areas in the model. There is no in-between condition of a person from health to illness or the vice versa.
The Model follows the Dualism model of the mind and the body. Dualism states that the mind and body exist in two different planes of existence and do not affect each other’s behaviour (Phillips, Beretta. and Whitaker 2014). The mind is taken as an entity that operates in a different plane from the body and in no way affects the functions of the physical body form. Mind is an abstract entity, which influences emotions and thoughts (Lovallo 2015). On the contrary, body is takes as the physical entity made of bones, muscles skins and organs to perform the physical functions. The health issues according to this model are completely related to the physical form of the body and they do not affect the mind of the person.
The traditional biomedical models say that the physical illness might have psychological but no psychological issues can give physical illness. For example, no amount of psychological issues may cause life-threatening diseases like AIDS or Cancer (Bowling 2014).
The Model therefore suggests that, the treatment of any physical illness should be based on the science of medicine. The psychological scenario of the patient should be kept side while treating the illness of the body. According to the Parsons’ sick role, the Biomedical Model is justified. Researcher Talcott Parsons first gave the Sick Role model in 1951 stating that a sick person has certain roles to fit in to justify the role of a sick person. He states that a person has to follow certain norms to be regarded as sick. Firstly, the illness is regarded as the sanctioned deviation according to this method. A person is supposed to perform their daily tasks in the society and the inability to do so is considered deviation (Heidarnia and Heidarnia 2016). For a sick person this deviation from the daily role is accepted by the society and this is why a sickness is called sanctioned deviation. It has two basic tenets that a person cannot be blamed for their illness and they have the responsibility to relieve themselves of their sickness as soon as possible, to perform their daily duties in the society.
This model supports the Biomedical Model of Health as it takes the physical illness as a completely physical effect on the body independent of the mind. The theory suggests that the treatment of the illness in the hands of a trained practitioner is the prime motive of the sick person. The theories also negate any influence of the mind on the sickness of the body. The dualism of the two entities based on the model makes them negate any effects of the mind on the illness or the treatment of the body (Heidarnia and Heidarnia 2016). The models face a number of criticisms from other theories of health, which accounted health as the total wellbeing of the person and the importance of lifestyle in maintaining a healthy society.
The various criticisms that the Biomedical Theory faces are Iatrogenesisis, Social Model of Health, McKeown’s view, Marxist View and the WHO definition of Health. These theories point out the flaws in the Biomedical Model of Health. The models also point out the flaws in the dualism concept adopted by the Biomedical Theory to justify the treatment and diagnosis of the patient.
Iatrogenesis is a Greek term for the effect of the medicine on the body of the person. This theory takes into account any changes in the human body, which may be a cause of the treatment of the medical practitioner increasing the issues of the patient (Quarta et al. 2017). This effect stands in stark contrast with the concept of the Biomedical model of health as the model does not take into account the mistakes committed by the medical practitioners. The iatrogenic diseases affecting the body is not the by any pathogenic or functional malfunction but due to a mistake of the medical practitioner who is supposed to treat the person. Such illness strictly defies the norms of Biomedical Model of Health.
The Social model of health, which simply says that the health of the person depends on a number of social factors such as environment, individual habits, social issues and the economic strata of the person. It is the condition of the overall well being of the person in the conditions of health and lifestyle is judges as the cause of illness (Hankivsky et al. 2017). Unlike the Biomedical Model, the Social model sees the illness as part of the society and the effect of the society on the person. It does not treat the illness as an outside influence on the body on which the sick has no control but as the cumulative outcome of the habits of the person. It justifies those diseases affecting people vary according to the lifestyle habits and other factors such as economic factors and hereditary traits. It is a clear violation of the biomedical model of health and stands strong in answering questions Biomedical Model cannot. For example, a major population in oriental countries suffer from inherent myopia for which Biomedical model has no justification. The Social Model also takes health and illness as relative conditions of the society.
McKeon’s view was based on the two books he published The Modern Rise of Population and The Role of Medicine. According to McKeown, the rapid growth of population was due to the moral degradation after the industrial revolution, which improved the lifestyle and economic status of the people. McKeown suggests that the illness that affects a person is not only due to the external pathogens but also due to the living condition of the person, like nutrition and hygiene (McKeown 2014). He suggests that unhygienic and poor lifestyle is the cause of a number of diseases. He argues in his work that medical intervention is not only the necessary thing to cure diseases as the improvement of economic conditions and better lifestyle decreased the prevalence of a number of diseases. This is in strict contrast to the suggestion of the Biomedical Model that a person cannot be held responsible for their disease, as the lifestyle of a person is strictly their personal choice (Rigg, Engelman, and Ramirez 2018). In McKeown’s view, the Biomedical Model fails to take the importance of nutrition in illness.
The Marxist Model of Health takes a socio-medical approach on the topic of health and blames the economic divide for the prevalence of the health related issues in the society. According to this theory, the poor people who do not have a proper access to a healthy lifestyle, nutrition and hygiene usually suffer from a number of ailments (H 2017). For example, a rich person suffering from cancer can get it diagnosed early and treated. For the majority of poor population the diagnosis is late as they overlook the issues to fulfil the economic needs. Even after they are diagnosed, they can hardly afford the costly treatment. This stands against the rule Biomedical Model that every patient has the duty to be treated in the hand of an able medical practitioner because of the lack of resources.
According to the WHO’s 1948 definition health is “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (World Health Organization, 2017). According to this definition, health is the complete psychological and physiological wellness of a person. The inclusion of the mind and body together as a parameter of health is in stark contrast to the Dualist concept of the Biomedical Model of Health. The effect of the psychological wellbeing for a healthy lifestyle and the importance of the mental health affecting the physical health of the person are justified in this definition (World Health Organization, 2017).
There are various cases, which show that the biomedical model of health is indeed outdated in the modern world scenario. The Biomedical Model of health does not take conditions like depression and anxiety as illness and a majority of the population suffers from it (Sarafino, and Smith 2014). On the other hand, the importance of hygiene is seen in cases when we contrast the number of water borne disease cases in affluent and poor countries. The Biomedical Model fails to justify the importance of lifestyle as the cause of diseases, but studies relate a number of lifestyle habits to diseases like, tobacco usage to cancer, obesity to heart issues and stress to diabetes (Yamauchi and Kadowaki 2013). The treatment of patient according to the Biomedical Model is not accessible to the majority of the population because it focuses on illness, treatment, and not the psychological aspects of health. There are various cases like the HIV exposed uninfected children in Africa which is in strict defiance of the law since they carry the virus and are unaffected by it (Alfran et al. 2014).
Thus in the essay the Biomedical Model is seen as the model which treat the ill as a sick body alienated from the society and gives the measure to assure proper treatment. It is supported by the Parson’s Sick Model, which outlines a set of roles an ill person has to follow according to social norms. This model is strictly criticized by other models such as Marxism, Social model, McKeown’s View, Iatrogenesis and WHO definition of health for the inclusion of lifestyle as the determining factor of health. In the present scenario, it is not possible to ignore the importance of mental health and psychology on the body. Therefore, the Biomedical Model is outdated for being used in the modern society.
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