Like Unit 3, where we look at how determinants of health lead to variations in health status between populations, in Unit 4 we look at seven specific determinants, or ‘factors’, that lead to the difference in health status between Australia and developing countries. Remember, Australia’s health status is excellent while developing countries often have very poor health status. So, we’ve got to learn the major reasons WHY this difference exists, so then we can work to fix them up!
Australia has a high GDP; developing countries do not.
Thus, individuals and families in developing countries have limited money to spend on healthcare, education, food, housing and sanitation. Also, their nation has less money to spend on providing infrastructure for healthcare, schooling, and safe water.
In Australia, men and women have the same opportunities, but in developing countries, women are seen as less important. Compared to men, women in developing countries may have to face:
Australia has political stability and peace, leading to choice and opportunity, economic growth, and stable education and healthcare systems.
However, some developing countries have political instability and conflict which can lead to:
Australia has high levels of education with mandatory schooling up to year 10 and high levels of tertiary education, while in developing countries people have limited access to education.
Education provides people skills so they can avoid labour-intensive jobs and earn a good income. They can use the income to: educate their children; pay for healthcare, food, wells and toilets; and pay taxes to promote the country’s economic growth. Educated people are also more likely to understand healthy behaviours, like using condoms to prevent spread of HIV/AIDS, healthy eating, and hygiene practices.
Australia also has higher levels of girls’ education, which decreases the maternal and infant mortality rate, as educated girls are more likely to have children later (decreasing risk of obstructed births and obstetric fistula) and understand and use health-promoting behaviours (seeking prenatal care and skilled birth attendants, infant feeding and care, hygiene, nutrition and immunisation).
Australia has Medicare, affordable access to all necessary healthcare, while those in developing countries may not have access to:
thus increasing their rates of communicable disease.
Australia has low levels of communicable diseases (can be transmitted between people) and high levels of non-communicable diseases which are lifestyle related (e.g. CVD, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases). Developing countries have high levels of CDs and low levels of NCDs.
However, with global marketing of tobacco, alcohol and fast/processed foods (i.e. advertising and selling of these products in developing countries), developing countries now have a double burden of disease, because they now get both CDs and NCDs.
Developing countries also have less health promotion, so they may not understand the risks of consuming these products. Also, if people with a low income buy these products, they may be unable to afford essentials, like education, healthcare and healthy foods. As they have less healthcare access, they also can’t afford treatment for NCDs or CDs. Hence, this increases the burden of disease from these conditions in developing countries:
Most Australians have adequate housing with proper sanitation and shelter, whereas those in developing countries may have overcrowding, contaminated water and no toilets.
Want to suggest an edit? Have some questions? General comments? Let us know how we can make this resource more useful to you.