Socio-economic status is an important determinant of health, whether a cause or consequences, it is linked with other major determinants. Majority of the world’s population have their health status determined by their level of socio economic developments like;
- per capita GNP
- Political system etc
Economic status-GNP is widely accepted measure of economic performance. Economic progress is the major factor in reducing morbidity, increasing life expectancy and improving quality of life. Economic status determines the purchasing power, standard of living, quality of life, family size, the pattern of disease and deviant behavior in the community. It is also an important factor in seeking health care. However, improvement in economic status has also lead to increased incidence of diseases of affluence, like coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity etc.
Education-Education of females is another factor influencing health of the family as a whole. Educational status or literacy level relates with poverty, ignorance, ill health, malnutrition, high infant and child mortality rates. Educated population can counteract the effect of poverty on health. Higher the literacy, lower the incidence of mortality rates. Poor mental ability may lead to reduced progress in education and subsequently restrict job opportunities. Lower income in turn will restrict food choice. Lack of education may affect decision making skills and lead to underuse of services coupled with binding to tradition and beliefs.
Employment or Occupation - being employed not only lead to economic benefit but also mental peace, hence productive work promotes health. Loss of work leads to loss of income or economic insecurity and mental stress, loss of status thus leading to psychological and social damage.
Political system - Health is also related to country’s political system. Political influences are more in implementation of health technologies. Decisions related to resource allocation, manpower policy, choice of technology and the degree to which health services are made available and accessible will determine the way in which political system can shape community health services.
Percentage of GNP spent on health is an indicator of political commitment. Political commitment and leadership should orient towards social development and not merely economic development. Social, economic and political actions are required to eliminate health hazards in people’s working and living environment.