Social Determinants of Health Examples: Health Care Access - MEDLIFE

Social Determinants of Health Examples: Health Care Access

If you are considering pursuing a career in public health, understanding the social determinants of health definition is crucial. These factors encompass a wide array of elements which significantly influence individuals’ health outcomes. They can vary from person to person based on region, cultural background, economic standing, and more. That being said, these are the typical social determinants of health examples:

  1. Economic Stability
  2. Social and Community Context
  3. Neighbourhood and Built Environment
  4. Education Access and Quality
  5. Health Care Access and Quality

Imagine you wake up one day and all your electricity is turned off, your car is gone, you don’t have a phone, the water in your taps isn’t safe to drink, and you don’t have any food. Now imagine you have a pain in your lower back as well. What is the first thing you would try to fix? You would probably conclude that the pain in your back is less important than your need for food and water, leaving it to be attended to at another time. However, in your pursuit of survival, that pain in your lower back slowly starts growing into a cancerous mass. These are situations that many of the patients in our mobile clinics face.

social determinants of health definition

Health care access and quality are pivotal components of the social factors affecting health and illness. Accessible health care services and their quality directly impact individuals’ ability to manage their life effectively. If one is in poor health, it can become nearly impossible to find work, care for your family, find proper housing, study and go to school, or make/buy food. This causes individuals to be at a severe disadvantage in life. Unfortunately, disparities in health care access are prevalent globally, particularly affecting marginalized and low-income communities.

Social factors affecting health and illness vary widely across regions. In Latin America, for instance, many people who cannot afford to live in the more metropolitan areas of their country live on the outskirts of town in what is referred to as “human settlements.” In these areas things like electricity, water, food, and safe housing are scarce. Because of the struggle for basic amenities, things like health care often are nearly impossible to gain access to, putting these communities at a severe disadvantage in their health.

MEDLIFE is committed to addressing health care disparities in Latin America and Africa. By keeping the social determinants of health in mind with everything we do, we work to ensure communities lacking adequate health care and infrastructure receive comprehensive support. Through mobile clinics, educational programs, and infrastructure development, MEDLIFE empowers communities to improve health outcomes sustainably.

social factors affecting health and illness

Our initiatives extend beyond immediate medical care to include health education and patient follow-up programs. By addressing social determinants of health comprehensively, we aim to foster healthier communities equipped to sustain their well-being independently.

For more social determinants of health examples, check out our other blogs on this topic.

By recognizing and addressing the social determinants of health as pivotal steps toward achieving health equity worldwide, health care workers can approach their work with empathy and compassion for every patient they encounter. These lessons are invaluable to those entering the medical field. To learn how you can assist low-income communities abroad in accessing comprehensive medical care, fill out the interest form below or download our free Service Learning Trip brochure!