The evolution of health perception: How did we arrive at this point and what must be altered? 2023
Public health includes organized societal efforts to develop, maintain, and enhance health. All actions that promote health, prevent, mitigate, and cure disease, and address the social and environmental determinants of health generally need public policy and community engagement.
Health encompasses physical, mental, and social well-being. Since 1948, the WHO has maintained the definition. Public health, on the other hand, is forward-looking, social, and involves sectoral collaboration.
Illness and health assessments are scientific and value judgements that need medical, social, psychological, cultural, and economic expertise.
Globalization and the rise of pharmaceutical firms have objectified disease and patients, with medicine focused on medical technology and disease causes.
From disease to health
Health has replaced disease. Thus, health has become the ultimate aim rather than a means to other goals. It’s linked with life, and pharmaceuticals lead. It expects individualism, freedom, and ultimate loyalty from the person.
Thus, individuals must take care of their health to increase economic production and efficiency and minimize treatment expenses. Thus, health has become a lifestyle and a market for health-related consumer items has grown.
Health is a commodity and an ideology. In a medicalized society, people are expected to have “divine qualities” and “repair” themselves with market products if they don’t. Of course.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted social imbalances and accelerated psychosomatic society strengthening. It demonstrated that “advanced” civilizations like Europe and the US manage risks poorly.
Subsystems of (civil) protection and security are underdeveloped, healthcare and aged care are underfunded, and the state is increasingly intruding in the doctor-patient relationship, which used to be private.
It is gradually qualifying and prescribing a suitable lifestyle, restricting “harmful” vices, and moving healthcare from the society to the individual, who therefore sees disease as a personal obligation or guilt.
Social unfairness, inferiority, uncertainty, lack of control, and low self-esteem grow. Anxiety, wrath, and mistrust of authorities and the health system result. People are increasingly self-medicating, which is mirrored in their hostility to government and official medicine. Public health, especially epidemiology, has become an issue for most people.
Social injustice, inferiority, insecurity, feeling at the bottom of the social ladder, and low self-esteem are the main causes of poor health in Western countries.
To avoid putting pressure on individuals with little influence over their lives, encouraging healthy lifestyles requires a lot of social awareness.
Traditional social policy has sought to provide security in risky life situations (old age, unemployment, illness, etc.), but the new social and health policy will have to pay more attention to significant life transitions like school to work, parenthood, unemployment to employment, retirement, and so on.
Thus, we need a welfare state with social anchors to help people control their own lives and for Western medicine’s secular individualist paradigm to give way to collectivist secular concepts that focus on social living conditions and illness. Thus, society and the individual will share responsibility for health.
Social/collective activity, not individual care, promotes personal and public health.