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Factors influencing good health

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Determinants of health

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Factors influencing good health

  1. 1. Factors Influencing Good Health Introduction  There are many factors that contribute to one's health, and many more influence good health. You may visit this website for more information. Click and Read
  2. 2. (a) Provision of clean water  Provision of water which is safe for use is a factor that determines good health.  Not only is clean water needed in people's diet (for drinking and cooking), but it is also needed for washing and keeping the body and clothes clean.  Fresh water is among the most precious resources on earth. It is essential for many things including;  raising food crops and livestock  supporting economic development  sustaining life itself.
  3. 3. Provision of clean water cont.  Developing countries often suffer from serious shortages of clean potable water and some suffer from drought and low water supplies.  In rural areas where there is unreliable or infrequent rainfall, farmers struggle to grow food with dwindling groundwater and women must walk long distances to fetch water from the available sources.  In crowded slums of cities, families pay a big part of their earnings, up to 20%, for water services.  Water should always be clean because unsafe water can lead to water-borne diseases such as:  diarrhoea and dysentery (runny stomach) which are caused by bacteria in polluted water  malaria - which is carried by mosquitoes  bilharzia - which spreads through a parasite living in water.
  4. 4. (b) Sanitation  Sanitation deals with both personal and public health. In order to be healthy, people need to live in conditions which are clean and they need to keep their bodies clean.  This cleanliness is called hygiene. Hygienic conditions prevent diseases from spreading.  Here are some of the rules for hygiene;  People's bodies must be washed everyday and hands must be kept clean  Drinking water must be pure and kept from contamination  Clean water must be used to wash kitchen utensils and clothes  Food must be covered and kept away from flies  Provision must be made for toilet systems (provision of toilets and sewage facilities).
  5. 5. Sanitation cont.  However, many people today still live in poverty and cannot, therefore, keep their homes as clean as they would wish.  Dirty living conditions create ideal conditions for flies and rats and other disease-carrying insects and animals to flourish.  Examples of diseases which spread because of unhygienic conditions are cholera, plague, hepatitis, tuberculosis and others.
  6. 6. (c)Good nutrition  An adequate diet is essential for good health.  Nutrition refers to food and drinks with regard to their quality, composition and quantity.  A balanced diet forms good nutrition and provides the body with all the nutrients it needs.  There are four kinds of nutrients namely, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.  It is important for people to eat these nutrients in a balanced way and in sufficient quantities.
  7. 7. Good nutrition cont.  The main reason for an unhealthy diet is poverty because people cannot afford healthy food.  However, many people are also ignorant of what a balanced diet should contain.  An adequate diet provides sufficient energy for people to work, learn and socialise.  But in the developing world, people often cannot afford to buy enough food, so they do not get this energy from food.  Some even end up with malnourished children.
  8. 8. (d) Poverty  We have seen many factors which affect health in the developing world, but poverty is the most important or common cause of poor health.  If people are poor, they are likely to have unhygienic housing, no access to clean water, not enough land to produce nutritious food, no livestock and no money to buy food.  All these things contribute to ill-health.
  9. 9. Poverty cont.  Of course poverty does not cause disease directly.  Children do not have diarrhoea or measles because their parents are poor but because the parents do not have enough money for the family to have clean water and a balanced diet.  An unhealthy diet will make their bodies weak and less resistant to disease and they will catch diseases when drinking dirty water or playing in it.  Poverty, therefore, is a foundation upon which all these poor health is built.
  10. 10. (e) Education  Education means teaching people how to help themselves by giving them knowledge and skills.  Education is probably the most important primary health care factor as every other factor we have considered depends upon it.  Education means giving people all the information they need in order to help themselves.  Information can be passed on through churches, women's groups, youth groups, community projects, local radio stations, newspapers and of course institutions such as schools.  Women hold the key to health because they often care for the whole family.
  11. 11. Education cont.  Research has shown that when women are literate (can read and write), their families are healthier, and it is therefore crucial to educate women.  When women are literate, for example, they will know that if their children have diarrhoea, they should be given a lot of water to avoid dehydration.  Water should be clean and boiled with correct measurements of sugar and salt to make a good rehydration solution.  This solution helps replace the lost minerals and water.  Diarrhoea causes dehydration (loss of body water) and intake of water prevents dehydration which can lead to death especially in babies.
  12. 12. (f) Stress control  Stress is a state of constant worry.  A lot of factors, some of which are mentioned in this lesson, can actually contribute to one's level of stress.  Poverty, for example, is an important cause of stress because people realise their responsibilities but cannot handle them due to lack of money, property or security.  Problems that may cause stress include:  shortage of money or land to provide enough food  poor housing and lack of habitable space  unemployment  lack of medical care  lack of fresh, clean and potable water and other needs.
  13. 13. Stress control cont.  A person who worries all the time may end up with even more problems that may include:  depression and mental problems  alcoholism and drug abuse  family and social problems and all these in turn can lead to poor health.
  14. 14. (g) Availability of trained personnel  Availability of trained manpower or personnel is a very important factor of good health especially in developing countries.  Not all health workers are doctors. Village health workers, counsellors, nurses, water and sanitation engineers, housing advisors and food crop experts are all just as important as doctors when it comes to health.  It is almost impossible to have a doctor or a nurse in every village as many governments cannot afford to train and pay many professionals.  A cheaper option is to choose local persons to be trained in basic health matters.
  15. 15.  An example of these kinds of people are Family Welfare Educators, popularly referred to as "Bo-Mmaboitekanelo" in Botswana.  These people teach the society about disease prevention and healthy living.  Part-time health workers may also be engaged and paid by the local people for their services.  Traditional midwives are given a short training in midwifery in order to help women deliver their babies safely at home and to emphasise to the new mother, the need for breast- feeding as well as good hygiene for her and the baby.
  16. 16. (h) Entertainment  There is what is known as leisure time.  This is when one is not working and leisure time can be used to socialise with others.  Entertainment is an important factor of health because people are not supposed to spend all their time working.  They should take some time off work and go to social places.  Therefore, it is important to have entertainment facilities in the country.  People can go to the gym to exercise and keep fit.  They can visit friends, visit pubs, visit a cinema hall, watch television and do many other things.  All these are important as they help put peoples' minds at ease and enable them to relax after work. This results in one living a healthy life.

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