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An Introduction to Health Sociology


Study of illness experience is well positioned to examine how individuals construct and manage their illness and with what consequences. Illness experience enables an individual recast their life. Medical knowledge of illness is sometimes not neutral and the feminist try to imply something’s may be harmful to the women during certain time. Generally the rural population is poor because of lack of resources and low income. Labeling theory makes one to see him as the society portrays and sees him. The challenge faced by health providers is contributed to low income and the population not being informed. The ageing community increases the countries expenditure. The mentally ill are still stigmatized in the community

Illness is not simply present in nature waiting to be discovered by scientist or physicians. Rather its social designation, by no means given in nature of medical fact. Certain illness have particular social or cultural meaning attributed to them .some illness are stigmatized and others are not, stigmatized illness can make an illness much more difficult to treat and manage. Study of illness experience is well positioned to examine how individuals construct and manage their illness and with what consequences. Illness experience enables an individual to recast their life into the new and unplanned developments. A constructionist approach takes the subjective experience of illness seriously, examining the personal and social meaning of illness, and exploring how illness is managed in the social context that sufferers inhabit. By giving voice to the sufferers perspective of illness approach can lead to importance clinical reforms. Some medical sociologist suggests that lay ways of knowing may supplement medical knowledge and positively influence health outcomes.

Medical knowledge sometimes reflects and reproduces existing forms of social inequality. Rather than being value –neutral, some medical knowledge, implicitly, Shores up the interest of those groups in power. Feminist try to explain what gender is as differentiated with sex. They also bring other implication on the woman the dos and don’ts during certain times of their life .medical knowledge are also conditioned by the social context it’s developed. Also under the general theme of the social construction of medical knowledge is the influential work on medication. It occurs when human problems or experiences become defined as medical problems, usually in terms of illness, diseases, or syndromes.

Poverty has greatly contributed to poor health in rural areas this according to Germov.  Lack of basic essentials occurs mostly in rural areas .most people in the rural areas live below the poverty line or the lowest amount needed to sustain life .Having insufficient access to a minimum amount of food that’s nutritious and sanitary plays contributes to poor health in the rural areas. Lack of sufficient clean drinking and cleaning water also contributes .Clothing that provides appropriate climatic protection and resources to wash clothes   are also important to health though they lack in rural areas .transportation which provides access to medical care, access to shopping and employment proves absolutely essential and it’s lacking in rural areas. Differential access to these life essentials depending on ability to afford with a given income results in differential health.

Women and children in the rural areas are faced with health issues as compared to the men. This is impacted by gender inequalities through discriminating of household goods, domestic violence lack of agency, and unfair distribution of work and opportunities between each gender .Education is a social determinant of health, it determines other factors of livelihood like occupation and income .With educational attainment related to improved health outcome, due to its effect on income, employment and living condition. Lack of education is a common factor in the rural areas .It enables people towards self-direction, which leads them to seek goals such as health. Another sociological factor is occupation, lack of occupation in the rural areas contributes to low income and this can lead to related poor health in one way or another.

Labeling theory is concerned with how the self –identity and behavior of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used to describe or classify them .it has been used to inform medical practice in order to draw attention to the view that the experience of being sick has both social and as well as physical consequences. According to Germov, in the case of sickness, primary deviance represents the illness experience. The process of secondary deviance is constituted through the act of diagnosis where in doctors engage in a process of classification through which people are either labeled ill or healthy. It’s because these diseases labels carry such widely shared public stereotypes that the behavior-change characteristic of secondary deviance occurs. Labeling as a means of creating diseases, must be distinguished from the cause of disease or not, is established by the doctor when the diagnosis or label is given to the patient (Germov 2009).

There numerous challenges faced by health care providers working sociologically. This include among the many: disagreement between patients and health care professionals about treatment decisions, waiting list and access to needed resources for the aged chronically ill, and mentally ill. Health care professionals won’t clash with patients and family over treatment decisions. Many people in need of diagnostic tests or surgical or surgical procedures are forced to wait months, and perhaps even years to receive these services. Waiting for needed care sometimes comprises the health status and outcome of patients, impede their ability to return to normal functioning at work and at home. Waiting list may also contribute to inappropriate use of scarce resources. Issues related to access to needed health care for the chronically ill and mentally ill. (Germov 2009).The citizen have a negative attitude towards the mentally ill and the aged. There is shortage of family physicians or primary care teams. Also the issue of medical error, these errors may include wrong prescription or dosage of medication

The other challenge is obtaining informed consent in the health care setting. Many patients cannot read the consent form they are asked to sign. Consent discussion and capacity assessments are often superficial and rushed   due to time constrains.    Challenge of substitute decision making, when a patient is incapable of making a particular health care decision, the health care will turn to the substitute decision maker to make the decision. Lastly challenge of surgical innovation .patients and families face this indirectly. (Germov 2009).

The ageing population will have a major impact on the organization and delivery of health care .of particular importance will be the shift of from acute to chronic illness and the likely growing shortage of health workers, especially nurses and paraprofessional’s .they will need focusing on chronic disease rather than acute diseases. The style of medicine will change from one time intervention that corrects a single problem to the ongoing management of multiple diseases and disabilities. Public programmes for the older population that provide health care, long-term care, and income support. (Germov.J, 2009) These account for the vast bulk of government spending for the older population.  Acute care services for older people, such as hospital and physician care, are finance through a mix of public and private sources. This increases the number of beneficiaries of public health care services and the decrease in those contributing to its financial support.

As the population ages public expenditure are projected to grow this because expenditure increases as one grows old. The number of working age citizen contributing to social service fund is rapidly diminishing while the number og aging citizen is increasing. One readily available solution to these problems is to be found, in part, increasing the use of generic medicines .this have been proved and it’s cheaper than other medication. They possess the same quality, safety and efficacy as their originator products and they go through the same regulatory procedures. This will help save on the expenditure .the aged population also have retirement benefits which also help in the running of their expenses.   

Mental illness is medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Sociology assumes that functioning society depends upon healthy people and controlling illness. The sick person is not to be held responsible for being sick, not responsible for normal duties, not supposed to like the role and supposed to seek help to get out of the role. Those who got sick and seeked treatment got sympathy from the society and their families though if the disease lasted for long the community lost sympathy. The society defines diseases as legitimate if it has a clear scientific or laboratory diagnosis. Society has refused to legitimize mental illness (Germov, 2009). Sometime back the mentally ill were put in asylum far from the normal people. Thanks to a medicine that reduced the symptoms that they started living with the normal people. Even after this people still viewed the mentally ill as people who would commit crime this still stigmatizes the mentally ill. These patients in the society stop to take medication when they feel they are good. This poses a threat to themselves and the people in the society. Manic depression and a host of other debilitating conditions can respond well to other therapies in addition to medication with treatment, they are no different from other members of the society .mental and emotional disorders awareness should be encouraged.


The mentally ill should not be stigmatized in the society they are people like use if they take their medication. The government should come up with a way to help the aged in the society. The rural areas are facing a lot of challenges which also contribute to the challenges of health care providers. The poverty in the rural areas contributes to poor health among the people. Education should also be encouraged in the rural areas to increase their health.

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