Compare and contrast the medical and WHO concepts of health. Briefly identify some of the strengths and limitations of the WHO concept. Essay Example
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Medical and W.H.O concepts of health
The concept of health has been shed on limelight by many analysts. According to the World Health Organization, an individual in a state of absolute social and physical robustness can be described as a healthy person. This person is in a position to perform functions with ease despite the conditions in the environment. This health concept by the World Health Organization (W.H.O) is paradoxical because it does not consider the fact that all situations are bound to change in the society no matter what. This may refer to the environmental conditions which may be affected by pollution or other factors ultimately, hindering the effective functioning of an organism (Sutton and Read 2008:274).
The W.H.O. concept considers a person mentally healthy if they are able to distinguish between objects, understand, and critically analyze facts and recall. This person simply has all the reasoning and rational abilities. On the other hand, recent medical researchers argue that if one has all the medical faculties and cannot reach an optimum mental health in terms of reasoning, thinking, recalling, are delusional cannot be considered mentally healthy (Sutton and Read 2008:309). Analysts argue that this person has no average mental ability and is not in a position to discern things as they are. A deviation needs correction and therefore mental deviations need adjustments so as to be fit and this is only possible through medical therapies for the being to mentally fit and healthy.
According to World Health Organisation, health is a state of complete physical,
mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It is evident that this definition is not comprehensive enough. In the light of emotional health, is a person who is has no disease but is not emotionally fit healthy? If a person is not able to display proper emotional response in relation to a particular incentive, it is vivid that they are not healthy. The World Health Organization therefore does not incorporate all concepts of health as it is evident that this person is emotionally unstable. If for instance one is not able to cry, fight, eat or even laugh when need be then that person is not is not healthy at all and are suffering from a certain disease (Sutton and Read 2008:311).
The World Health Organization does incorporate the whole concept of health and healthy people. It alienates the little concepts that affect human health system like the social and lifestyle factors that affect the emotional health of an individual like working longer, anxieties of life among others.
The medical concept of health unlike the World Health Organization concept identifies the causative agents of disease in order to control them. Just like Lupton, 1993 argues these causative agents have to be put into check (Crawford, 2004: 153). These factors include the agent factor which is a substance like chemical agents, social agents or even physical that may cause illnesses. This concept is tangible enough as it critically looks at the root of illnesses and how to deal with it. For instance, exogenous agents like allergens, dust or fumes are manageable. In recent study by Crawford (2004:508), he states that Mary Douglas and Aaron Wildavsky (1983) indicated that after learning the contributing factors of modern diseases most of the Northern Americans are extremely disturbed and are careful with what they consume ranging from the contents of their drink to their food. The air they inhale and the land they inhabit in is also a worry to them. The main question is whether this contributes to improve the health of an individual or not which I believe is. The modern concept simply takes the bull by the horns unlike the World Health Organization that only describes the causative agents and dimensions but does a little to help the populace.
The medical concept has critically undertaken efforts of diagnosing diseases at an early stage unlike the World Health Organization who are keen to discuss the homoeopathy or therapeutic system which just contributes a small percentage of the healing process to the populace. It is evident that the medical concept has undertaken comprehensive studies on technologies like Ultra-sound pap smears, mammography among others (Crawford, 2004: 509). Crawford continues to argue that people are more aware of their illnesses thanks to medical concepts of health over the World Health Organization concepts that are more of general overview of health unlike practical.
The medical concept therefore puts the populace into action by continually reminding them that they have to take preventive actions to protect their immunity from destructive retributions (Crawford, 2004:509). Basically the medical concept understands well the magnitude of health needs and taken up the task of mobilizing people in whole , the causes, determinants and effects of various diseases unlike the World Health Organization that focuses only on selected aspects of health. However, the World Health Organization set the base for further research on the health sector.
Crawford, R. Risk ritual and the management of control and anxiety in medical culture. An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine. 2004, Vol 8(4): 505–528
Sutton, J. and Read, D.A. The concept of health. Holbrook Press: California. 2008 pp 206-345.
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