Beyond a Good Health Care System Lies the Need For a Well Educated Society
A health care system is the organization of people, institutions, and resources to deliver health care services to meet the health needs of target populations. However, as simple as the definition sounds, Health care systems are very complex and multi-faceted in nature. World Health Organization defines health care system as consisting of all organizations, people and actions whose primary intent is to promote, restore or maintain health. This includes efforts to influence determinants of health as well as more direct health-improving activities. A health system is therefore more than the pyramid of publicly owned facilities that deliver personal health services. It includes, for example, a mother caring for a sick child at home; private providers; behavior change programs; vector-control campaigns; health insurance organizations; occupational health and safety legislation. It includes inter-sectoral action by health staff, for example, encouraging the ministry of education to promote female education, a well known determinant of better health.
However, much as health care systems encompass a lot of sectors, most societies put a lot of emphasis on strengthening institutions and making availability of necessary resources sustainable. While this is so crucial to a good health care system, I believe an organization of people, which is usually overlooked by most societies, is the starting point in trying to achieve a good health care system. There is a need to have a well educated society that clearly understands that having a good health care system is a human right. This entails that the society be aware of their obligation to try to help improve their health sector. This could be in the form of knowing the best practices that would enable them to prevent various diseases, having good knowledge of various diseases and clearing out all misconceptions that are attached to various diseases, and understanding the need to go to hospital when they have a problem.
Therefore, I believe there is a need to strengthen peoples’ awareness of various health issues, such a sexual reproductive health, non communicable diseases and other infections, various best practices, available health institutions(including their structure and how they operate), and available health insurance. It is important to educate a society about their human right to good health and how their active role would be of great importance in trying to achieve a good health care system. Beyond this awareness in health issues, having a more educated society is key to improving health service delivery and we need to see a good education system as crucial to having a good health care system.
In Malawi, most public hospitals provide free training and awareness campaigns on various diseases and their preventive measures. This ensures that people have the correct information about various health issues that they face thus reducing the problems that arise due to ignorance and lack of correct information. With good institutions, sustainable flow of resources and good organization of people, all other factors remaining constant, I believe that society can have a good health care system.
The significance of the effect of having an educated, literate and well-informed society on good health service delivery is hugely noticed in remote and poor areas. In most cases, more specifically in Malawi, remote areas have people who have various misconceptions about the health system in terms of diseases, their causes, prevention and treatment. This is due to lack of perfect information, most people delaying seeking medical attention or people stopping taking prescribed treatment. This brings a lot of problems as most people usually die mainly because of lack of proper information and awareness of various health issues. This is why I believe that, with empirical evidence beyond all reasonable doubt, with all other factors remaining constant, having a good health care system lies in having a well educated, literate and well-informed society that has a good understanding of various health issues and, more importantly, understands that access to good health care is a human right.