@2009 Population HealthIntroductionPopulation health is defined by health outcomes and the distribution of these outcomes in a group of people. It is a way of approaching health with the idea of developing it in the entire population. In achieving this, health inequalities should be discouraged between groups in a population. Population health aims to go beyond the level of public health and medicine by dealing with a wide range of factors that affect the health of a population. Examples of these factors are social structure, environment and the distribution of resources (Deakins University 1992).
The purpose of this paper is to discuss population health issues that relate to access to health care for people living in rural communities. This paper will briefly summarize the current situation in Australia and examine the effectiveness of current strategies to ensure health equity for those living in rural areas. Difficulties in Accessing Health Services in Rural Areas and Remote AustraliaHealth facilities in rural areas and remote Australia are mostly inaccessible because they are located in far place from the community who need the service. There are no modes of transportation in these areas and if any, the passengers are overcharged by the practitioners in the transport sector making it hard for poor community to use the services.
Also, there is scarcity of hospitals and dispensaries in these areas. People need to travel to urban areas in most cases there is only one health care in a rural area and this results in overcrowding and many patients do not access the services resulting in deaths (Edelman 2005). Health care cannot operate without the service providers.
These are the trained health care professionals who deliver health services to the people. For instance, doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, and medical laboratory staffs. These professionals can either be self-employed or employees in an organization. Rural areas health cares lack enough numbers of health care providers. These makes it hard to attend to all patients and in cases where they try to attend to all patients, they end up not delivering quality services as they are tired. Health care system requires adequate funds so as to be able to pay the service providers and to meet its standards.
There are usually basically five major methods of financing health care systems: paying directly, general taxation, insurance for social health, voluntary or personal health insurance, and insurance for community health. Rural health care services lack funds needed in operation and in purchasing machinery such as computed tomography (CT) for scanning and X-rays machines as they tend to be forgotten and are not funded because they are located in remote areas. Most rural people are not aware of the dangers of some diseases and how to prevent them as they lack education.
Most health information is published and it’s hard for them to access the information as they are illiterate. Lack of health information like, determining the importance of a balanced diet, how to prevent some diseases and even how to cure them to the rural people encourages disease attack and spread. This is due to the high poverty levels in these areas and also lack of education institutions. Lack of education has also contributed to lack of enough health care providers as there are no qualified health care providers in these areas (Edelman 2005).