Free Essay. How Culture Shapes National Responses and Attitude Towards Health Crises

Published: 2023-11-12
Free Essay. How Culture Shapes National Responses and Attitude Towards Health Crises
Essay type:  Analytical essays
Categories:  Culture HIV Community health Covid 19
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1668 words
14 min read

The cultural composition of a country plays a vital role in the efforts and abilities to respond to health issues and crises. Understanding of the cultural setting is critical to improving health response procedures that are highly responsive to the social and cultural backgrounds of the people in a particular country. Culture is essential in health because it comprises of what all citizens in a country bring to the health services hence determining the response mechanisms to the health crisis. Culture accounts for a significant degree of variations in how countries respond to global health emergencies. It is because, through cultures, people can attach different meanings to their illness, and determine how people report symptoms and the type of help people will seek. Culture forms patterns of consistent ideas, thoughts, behaviors, and values that is collectively shared by a given society and continue to evolve to affect health response to national crises. According to the Office of the Surgeon General (2001, 1), cultural and social beliefs are deeply rooted in a given country hence the cultures influence to a large extent the health crisis response through diagnosis, treatment, coordination, and management of the health issue. The research will aim to give an in-depth examination and analysis of how the cultures have influenced the national responses to global health emergencies like COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, and SARS outbreaks.

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Global health emergencies occur frequently and require collective forces from the people in a country and the world at large to counter its spread. The research will focus on the evaluation of cultures of the Eastern and Western countries and their cultural implications to the response mechanism to various global pandemics. Therefore the aims of my project will be;

To examine critically how culture and political opinion in Eastern countries like China influenced the country’s efforts to respond to health crises. The culture and the regime create beliefs that can make the people abide by governmental laws and restrictions to curb the spread of pandemics.

In Western countries like the USA and UK, the research will aim to evaluate whether there are cultural beliefs regarding health crises affect the country’s response to the spread and containment of HIV/AIDS, COVID-19, and other infections.

To examine the viability of national responses about cultural inclusion. The research aims to assess the cultural and national response preparedness for possible future reemergence of health pandemics.

The research aims will be addressed from the research perspective of the respondents the residents of the various countries in the Eastern, western, and Middle Eastern cultures. The experiences, thoughts, observations, and general interpretations will be drawn in the literature review of the academic documents.

Review of Background Literature

The cultural backgrounds of the country are formed through the integration of various cultures to embrace diversity and collectiveness. The cultures of many countries are shaped by planned and unplanned trends in migration, diversity of social behaviors, and emerging health issues that determine how global health issues are understood and tackled (Napier et al. 2014, 1). The cultural beliefs and values are subjective, dynamic and change continuously creating new healthcare needs for continuous adjustments to create an alignment. Napier et al., (2014, 2) noted that the cultural values, beliefs and systems have a significant impact on the healthcare outcomes regarding the response measures to a health problem. The cultural systems highly influence the health beliefs by explaining the leading causes of illnesses, treatment and the process of disease management. Countries with multicultural communities develop a health intervention protocol that addresses the needs of a culturally diverse community. Many countries, whether eastern or western, develop multicultural intervention and communication programs that address the health needs of people and create awareness about the health crisis and its responses (Dutta, 2008, 40). The response mechanisms initiated towards a health crisis are culturally sensitive to avoid backlash from people.

Eastern Countries (China) Culture and Response to the Health Crises

The SARS and COVID-19 health pandemics had their roots in China. The country’s political regime instituted strict containment measures that significantly contained the infections. The political institutions during the two regimes were faced with laying down emergent cultures to be adopted by all people to manage the pandemics. The government made the correct decisions for its culturally diverse people to secure their health and well-being. The social, cultural, and political forces in Eastern countries are considered to be systematic and proactive in the management of health risks. The government collaborates with health experts and people with their cultural beliefs to ensure that there is a proper understanding of the diseases and healthcare intervention procedures.

The political will in the Eastern countries is formed to strict regimes that implement the health countermeasures that aim to contain infections strictly. Wilder-Smith et al. (2020, 1) besides the public health containment measures, the political will in eastern countries plays a critical role in influencing the cultural beliefs and perceptions about health issues through the implementation of strict measures. Besides the SARS and COVID-19, China's response to health issues like HIV/AIDS is driven by the strong political and government structures that create a common culture that develops a network of positive relationships with people (Wu et al., 2007). The political commitment of the leadership regimes increases continuously hence bolsters the efforts of health response teams in the fight against the major pandemics. The previous health pandemics have shaped China's health, political, and cultural systems hence improving their health response mechanisms to such health pandemics. Bruns et al. (2020) noted that the health response mechanisms in China for COVID-19 were characterized by early diagnosis, contact tracing, isolation, quarantine and control of the health problem. The health culture in Eastern countries is called into action on time with healthcare interventions that entirely focus on addressing the cultural consequences to achieve positive outcomes (Bruns et al. 2020).

Chinese Government’s Secretive Nature and Censorship

The chines government is characterized by a secrecy approach in tackling the health crises as it is in the case for COVID-19. The political culture in the country is controlled by the Chinese communist party which commonly influences the dissemination of information regarding critical national issues (Roberts, 2006, 107). The culture of secrecy is evident in the case of handling the SARS and COVID-19 pandemics, and it affects the health response interventions and the outcomes for people in societies due to information crisis. Baekkeskov and Rubin, (2017, 1) noted that China and other authoritarian-led regimes have an established culture of cutting communications during disasters like health pandemics. The lack of adequate information hinders the health response mechanisms aimed at curtailing the spread of pandemics. A shift can positively influence health crisis management in the political response to pandemics from secrecy to openness (Baekkeskov & Rubin, 2017, 1). The government’s secrecy on SARS in 2003 acted against health preparedness leading to losing lives and criticism from both local and international players.

Handling H1N1 in 2009 was handled by health specialists and was characterized by the availability of information and openness (Baekkeskov and Rubin, 2017, 1). Developing a stable communication culture improves healthcare preparedness locally and internationally. Availability of information ensures that experts develop culturally sensitive approaches to health pandemics to curb the spread and save lives. China demonstrated high levels of secrecy and censorship during the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak exposing the fragile local and international healthcare systems (Ball, 2020, 229). The approach led to the disruption of economic and social activities to contain the disease. The approach receives negative feedback from the society's citizens because of how the interventions led to unfriendly consequences to the people both locally and internationally. In cases where the health pandemics are not well approached, they threaten the social and cultural history of the people and eliminate civilization. According to He & Liu, (2020, 1) china continues to be criticized for the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the lack of high-level transparency and early prevention measures.

Middle Eastern Countries (UAE)

Health is a cultural aspect that is formed in human behavior with underlying beliefs regarding treatment, health, outbreaks and the subsequent intervention measures. The majority of the Middle Eastern countries are governed by the royal family leadership; hence the kingship method is similar to the authoritarian leadership. The culture created under the system of leadership spreads across the population, especially in the UAE. The culture established UAE collaborated with international efforts to tackle the health crisis as in the case of COVID-19. As a cultural preparedness, (Ahmad et al., 2020, 2), UAE put in place national health preventive mechanisms to strategically slow the spread of Covid19. One of the countries considered to have the largest cultural city, Abu Dhabi, embraced the health intervention policies to curb the spread of the infection. The traditional approach is used to create awareness to the people to marshall up efforts to support the government and health workers by applying personal responsibility.

Western Countries, Culture and Health Crises

Western culture is entirely characterized by capitalism, materialism and individualism. Eckersley, (2006, 252) noted that the aspects of the Western culture are a drawback to the health and subsequent measures in a health crisis due to their effect on personal, social, and economic support. Despite creating order and meaning in people’s lives, culture is a health concern in certain circumstances due to the increasing costs caused by cultural fraud. According to Eckersley (2006, 256), some activities end up to going against the ethical and social standards of people and become a reliable source of harm to the health preparedness and response to crises. In Western countries, the individualistic cultural aspect affects the efforts required to tackle the health pandemics uniformly. In the USA, there are high poverty levels in the southern states that have contributed to a rise in HIV infections and the subsequent high mortality numbers (Reif et al., 2014, 351). The inequality in health prevention contributes to the disproportionate effects of the pandemic in the states on the South. The approach to the health pandemics in Western countries needs drastic improvement to ensure that prevention, diagnosis, and care processes focus on tackling the health issues.

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