The balance of responsibility for healthcare between society and the family – societal versus family responsibilities
“Responsibility for health: personal, social, and environmental
The Family is the basic or functional unit of a society. In making healthcare policy society and family plays a great part in implementation. Responsibility starts within each member of the family with the proper guidance of parents. Preventive efforts regarding healthcare issues must be practice by parents. A good example of which is by teaching their children at the very early age the three basic food groups (go, grow and glow) and proper hand washing, in such a way that each child will be guided accordingly regarding the proper diet to prevent illness and diseases. As a child goes to school he/she becomes a member of the society, a good practice of healthcare can be shared between peers. As they grow much older this good practice and views regarding healthcare becomes more profound and evident they becomes more responsible towards health and to the society. In my personal point of view responsibility for health is as basic as food, taking good care of one self is the fundamental responsibility an individual in becoming a better member of a society. The society has the responsibility of providing proper health services to the family and to a certain individual. An example of which is a good access in healthcare insurances, Equality in healthcare services on all facilities in government and private alike. The right for information regarding laws, provisions and policies should be properly disseminated. Access to rural or community health involving different business, healthcare, and transport sectors to address any healthcare issues.
One of the most important obligations of society is ensuring that each and every one has access to health care. This has been the main focus of health care policies all over the world. While this has been the most important, it is also vital that societies promote health in many other ways.
Society plays a great role in making sure that everyone has access to optimal health care and there are a lot of means by which this will be successful. One very common and effective way is by means of education and training. By means of education, people may be able to know more about ways on how to promote health and how to prevent certain diseases. Education is an effective tool to spread out information not just about the social issues but more importantly, about health. Through education, we may be able to enlighten people about the most important health issues that we have now. Some of these issues include sanitation, pollution, food and drug safety and disease prevention. Much attention should be focused on ways on how to promote health besides access to health care. These include environment and public health and health research.
In today’s modern age, there are numerous technological advances which affect our daily living. Whether we like to admit it or not, our lives are easier now because of these technological advances. They help us get to places faster and aid us with everyday activities so that we may be able to do them with more ease but as they say, there is always downside to everything. These advances may be the reason why there are several people who are becoming lazier when it comes to doing chores at home or at work. People nowadays tend to depend largely on technology to do simple things which they can do themselves. Simple things like walking when going to nearby places or picking something up from a store.
Lifestyle plays a huge role in some of the most fatal illnesses that exist now. According to Ralph Neas the total expenditures on health care in the United States represented 17 percent of the gross national product in 2010 and are projected to reach 20 percent by the end of this decade. The United States spends 141 percent more on health care than other economically advanced nations; furthermore, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although smoking has declined steadily there since the 1960s, smoking- related medical expenses are still about US$75.5 billion per year. Obesity, which has been climbing in the past two decades, accounts for about US$75 billion in healthcare costs there each year, moreover, alcoholism and drug addiction in the USA account for annual healthcare costs of about US$22.5 billion and US$12 billion, respectively. Federal government spending on healthcare relating to HIV/AIDS is over US$13 billion per year. This goes to show that health education is important and that people needs to be informed thoroughly on how to improve health and prevent diseases from spreading. It is also sensible to allot sufficient budget on health research and find means on how to prevent and if possible, to completely eradicate such diseases.
The balance of responsibility for healthcare between society and the family – societal versus family responsibilities encompasses different aspects in healthcare. It needs the involvement of all stakeholders. A families views and attitudes towards healthcare has a great impact in a society. A good example is in the Philippines, the Department of social welfare and development (DSWD) together with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and some None-Government organization groups Spear headed a program/Scheme Pantawid Pamilyang Pangkabuhayan or( 4Ps). The main purposes of the program is Hunger Mitigation, Prevention of Maternal and infant deaths by giving financial assistance to the families under poverty line with conditionality’s.
- Pregnant Household Member/s should visit their local health center to avail of pre- and post-natal care starting from the first trimester of pregnancy.
- Children 0-5 Years Old – members of the household who are 0–5 years old shall visit the health center and avail of Immunization/vaccination, weight monitoring, and management of childhood disease.
- Children aged 6–14 years old should receive deworming pills twice a year
- Children aged 3–5 years old enrolled in Day Care Program or pre-school program and maintain a class attendance rate of at least 85% per month (still subject to evaluation/study).
- Children aged 6–14 years old enrolled in elementary and secondary schools and maintain a class attendance rate of at least 85% per month.
- Parents should attend Family Development Sessions at least once a month.
- Participate in community activities to promote and strengthen the implementation of the program.
The first task is to identify the families who will be eligible and be the beneficiary of the program by doing surveys in the rural areas. First they disseminate the information from national down to local government units, barangays and families. After which they inform and award the families legible for the said program. Together with the Department of Health Philippines and Department of Education they create programs. The DOH launches the Immunization program visiting families house to house and immunizing children 8y/o and below. Each family also receives financial assistance.
According to WHO 1992, healthcare issues regarding the environment addresses all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related factors impacting behaviours. It encompasses the assessment and control of those environmental factors that can potentially affect health. It is targeted towards preventing disease and creating health-supportive environments. This definition excludes behaviour not related to environment, as well as behaviour related to the social and cultural environment, and genetics.
While it is sensible to place sole responsibility to an individual to take care of their health, there are several objections to it as well. One argument is that it is unfair to hold someone completely responsible for their own health especially if that person does not have a sound mind or is under the influence of drugs. Another is that it would be exceedingly difficult to implement a system that holds individuals responsible for their own health, since diseases and disabilities result from a complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Although it is completely rational that an individual must be able to maintain their health, the responsibility should not be placed solely on them. Whichever the case may be, the society must always help promote health and prevent illness. Although access to health care is extremely vital, society should also focus on creating means on how to promote health. They say, prevention is better than cure and it is true in so many ways. Prevention is more cost-effective and is more medically efficacious rather than finding means of treatment. For instance, it is more cost-effective to prevent certain serious illness rather than undergoing surgery or chemotherapy in the long run. The government should be able to provide its people their needs and with regards to health care, this includes monitoring of disease, urban planning and should be able to guarantee food and drug safety.
Family on the other hand, is considered to be the basic unit of a community and is therefore a great factor in an individual’s attempt to health promotion and disease prevention. It is through family that a person first learns everything which is why family greatly affects the choices made by an individual. Most often than not, a person confides with a family member in decision making may it be with finances, work related problems and health issues as well. If a person is unable to decide, a family member, usually the elder or the head of the family steps in to make the decision for them.
For instance, in New Zealand, since there are numerous rest homes, it is the obligation of the family or one of the family members to decide what is best for their loved ones who are residing at these rest homes especially if their loved ones cannot decide for themselves or is not able to comprehend some of the information given to them.
Health care access is one of the most important factors to consider in terms of societal issues with regards to health care but it is also with utmost importance that the society is able to promote health through education and research as well. Much importance should be placed not just on health care access but more so on strategies for health promotion especially on environmental and public health and health research. Government action is also vital and should be able to provide the needs of its people especially if it’s already out of their control like monitoring of disease and urban planning.
Family is the basic unit of community and is considered to be the basis of one’s decision with just about anything. May it be financial or health issues, families play a huge role in an individual’s choice.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Smoking costs nation $150 billion each year in health costs, lost productivity. Press Release. Retrieved from
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Obesity costs states billions in medical expenses. Press Release. Retrieved from
- Resnik D.B. July 2006. Responsibility for Health: Personal, Social and Environmental. J Med Ethics. Aug 2007; 33(8): 444–445. Retrieved from
- Neas, Ralph. (May 2011). Our Ailing Health. Politico. Retrieved from
- World Health Organisation. (1992). Environmental Healthcare. Retrieved from
- World Health Organisation. (1999). Population Issues. Retrieved from
- Department of Social Welfare and Development. Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). Retrieved from