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Chapter 6

HLTC24H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Numeracy, Social Exclusion, Developed Country

Health Studies
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Week 9 Reading- Health and Illness Chapter 6
Public Policy and the Social Determinants of Health
Governments and policy makers have the ability to shape public
policies that will support and encourage health
One of the major things preventing the appropriate actions from
being taken in Canada is the political economy. The
marketplace, instead of the government through laws and
regulations, is the dominating institution that is shaping the
structures and conditions that add force to the social
determinants of health
The governmental policy-making associated with this form of
political economy most often does not support the
perspective that places its priorities on the’ pathway through
which social conditions translate into health impacts’
Shaping a Context for Public Policy
Public policy s a course of action or inaction take by public
authorities, usually governments to address a problem or a
set of problems
These activities are anchored in a set of values and beliefs that
shape whether this situation will even be seen as a public
problem if it is then they would define what the proper
government response to it would be.
For example- Access to child care for families can have great
benefits for women pursuing careers and their families,
however it is not seen as a public problem that needs to be
addressed by the government
Values plays a role in public policy when looking at issues such as
employment security and working conditions, wages and
benefits, and food and housing insecurity. Most social-
democratic and continental European nations have
developed public policies that look to provide citizens with
the living conditions needed for a healthy life. The primary
value in these countries is equality and maintaining
Role of values also important in poverty rates. Many nations find
that reducing poverty and promoting early child
development is a central concern of governments and
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Public policy is extremely important in improving the socio-
economic conditions that make up SDOH
Policies concerned with providing equal distribution of income
would also respond to issues of:
Housing and food insecurity
Early child development
Social exclusion
Health ethicist David Seedhouse says to achieve adequate and
responsive care people must be provided with four things:
Resources to meet basic needs of food, water, shelter, warmth
Access to the widest possible info about all factors that have an
influence on a persons life
Skills of numeracy and literacy and the confidence to use this
Opportunities to be connected with others in their community
and larger society
Mary Shaw et al. States that health-related public policy plays its
greatest role in assisting ppl to navigate significant life-
course transition during which they are esp. vulnerable to
health disadvantage. These moments include:
Foetal development
nutritional growth and health in childhood,
leaving home,
entering the labour market, job loss or insecurity
episodes of illness and treatment
Material deprivation and absence of societal support during the
times listed above work against health
Risk are of two types: universal risks such as the life transitions
and non-universal risks such as premature diseases,
injuries and accidents, and family and breakups
Societies individualize risk when they fail to provide public and
collective benefits and services to address these problems
Epsing- Anderson primary factors shaping children’s cognitive
ability are health, income poverty and developmental
priming mechanisms that set the stage for life-long learning.
He maintains that a strong welfare state can minimize the
income poverty
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