Ellen Mi, Seeds of Grace President Vision
Welcome back to part 2 of Health and the Cycle of Poverty! In our previous article, we explored how poverty affects an individual or even a family’s health and wellbeing. In this particular article, we’ll be exploring how individuals can help to create a change by taking the steps to breakdown the barriers and to understand those who are marginalized.
Who Are Considered Marginalized?
According to Health Canada, marginalized individuals or underserved individuals are those with an “increased likelihood [to] experience difficulties in obtaining needed care, receive less or a lower standard of care, experience different treatment by healthcare providers, receive treatment that does not adequately meet their needs, or be less satisfied with healthcare services than the general population.”1 The effort needed to sustain the health of these individuals is often very complex and involves many various factors. However, creating and stimulating a conversation around the nature of marginalization and feasible solutions can help foster “an equal and healthy population.”2
What Aspects of Our Healthcare System Can We Change or Improve?
It’s often common to see many healthcare professionals focusing on the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and promotion of healthy living. However, prevention is another key factor that plays an important role in reducing emergency visits and hospital admissions. In fact, it should be an aspect that shapes policies surrounding healthcare system.
#1 Public Policy
When it comes to creating or shaping public policies, organizations and government bodies can work on identifying barriers and transforming policies to ensure “safer and healthier goods and services, healthier public services, and cleaner, more enjoyable environments.”4 This may be done by making assessments, conducting qualitative research to identify areas of need, and creating policies that create an environment of equality for those who are marginalized.3
#2 Supportive Programs
In addition to changes in public policy-making, supportive environments may be offered for these marginalized population groups. For example, programs that address or focus on some of the following may be helpful in achieving such an environment:
- Disease prevention
- Mobile screening clinics
- Outreach in remote or marginalized areas
Sometimes, it could even be as simple as providing items such as sun hats, sunblock, clean socks, or other hygiene products, or providing information such as heat stroke or hypothermia management, general hygiene, or diabetes management.
What Can We Do as Individuals?
It may be difficult to change an overarching healthcare system run by the government and larger healthcare bodies. Nevertheless, individually, we have the opportunity to help these marginalized population groups. As some say, if you want to change the world, you have to start with yourself first. It can start with developing our understanding, perspective, and acknowledgment of who they are.
They are just like us. They may face struggles that are different from the general population, but at the end of the day, it does not change the fact that we are all the same. Unfortunately, it’s likely that these individuals are faced with judgement and stereotypes wherever they go and with whomever they encounter. Instead of adding on to these existing adversities, we can act as a source of support. What these individuals lack the most is the warm embrace of humanity, friendship, and companionship. As an individual, you can change a life just by greeting someone or even help them with a warm helping hand. What these individuals need is someone to be their voice and to speak out for them when they feel no one else is on their side.
We hope you took away something valuable from this piece. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this article or others, feel free to reach out to us on Instagram, Facebook, or at firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback. We’d love to hear from you.
- Health Canada. Certain circumstance: issues in equity and responsiveness in access to health care in Canada. Ottawa; Health Canada; 2001. 256 p. Cat. No. H39-6l8/2002E.
- United, N. (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. United Nations, The General Assembly., Cat(N. A/RES/70/l).
- Power, R., French, R., Connelly, J., George, S., Hawes, D., Hinton, T., … Warner, D. (1999). Health, health promotion, and homelessness. BMJ : British Medical Journal, 318(7183), 590–592.
- WHO | The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/conferences/previous/ottawa/en/index1.html