National Health Systems

Table 1

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Level of Development

United States (High Income Country)

Somalia (Low Income Country)

Has a high school enrollment rate of 102 %

Has a low school enrollment of 32 %

Has an improved water source with 94 % of the rural population accessing clean water

Despite its improved water source, only 7 % of the rural population has an access to clean water

The country has a 17.6 tons per capita of C02 emissions

The country has CO2 emission rate of 0.1 (Metric tons per capita)

The life expectancy is estimated at 79 years at birth

The country has a life expectancy of 54 years at birth

The GNI of the country is at 50,120 per capita

The country has GNI per capita $150

Poverty Disparities and Health Outcomes (GINI Index)

The GINI index avails information regarding the school enrollment for measuring poverty levels. Thus, in Somalia, the GINI index indicates that there is a low school enrollment of 32 percent. This is particularly caused by poverty, which makes schools not available and parents not able to send their children to school. The United States has a high school enrollment rate of 102 percent attributed to good income distribution among its population. The GINI index also measures income distribution through checking on water distribution amongst the rural population. Somalia has an uneven distribution of resources, thus only 7 percent of its rural population has an access to clean water. This differs from the United States where 94 percent of its rural population has an easy access to clean water (Merson, Black & Mills, 2005). High CO2 emissions as indicated in the United States by GINI index prove that the country has many industries, which support income distribution amongst the population. A country that has low CO2 emissions does not have many industries. As a result, the population lacks employment opportunities and salary, which contributes to poverty. Thus, with a good income distribution or one, that has not deviated much from the Lorenz Curve, the United States is well placed to have good health outcomes as compared to Somalia (Merson, Black & Mills, 2005). This abounds from the fact that with good income distribution there will be effective healthcare service as compared to low-income distribution amongst the population. This explains why the United States has a higher life expectancy at birth than Somalia, which has a life expectancy of 54 at birth. Therefore, it can be concluded that in poverty disparities and health outcomes, the GINI index shows that the United States has a perfect equality while Somalia has perfect inequality as most the healthcare outcomes and poverty disparities reveal a GINI index of 100 (Merson, Black & Mills, 2005).

Non-Communicable Diseases in the United States and Somalia

Non-communicable diseases are the leading cause of death in many countries. This is attributed to the peoples lifestyle, unplanned urbanization, population ageing as well as globalization of marketing and trade that has increased exposure to risk factors for non-communicable diseases. Notably, chronic non-communicable diseases also contribute to high death rates in many countries. The World Health Organization has outlined the following four main types of non-communicable diseases: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases (World Health Organization, 2013). Obesity is a major problem and the leading cause of death in the United States. Obesity is a non-communicable disease that is mainly caused by peoples lifestyle. Due to the increased and unplanned urbanization, obesity has continued to be an epidemic in the United States. Thus, people in the country no longer have an access to healthy foods and tend to unhealthy lifestyle. Most of the urban population depends on junk food that is rich in fats and carbohydrates. The U.S. population leads a rather unhealthy lifestyle because of the development in technology. This means that most people in the country no longer find time to exercise, which promotes the obesity scourge in the country. This non-communicable disease has a negative impact on the U.S. population as it avails data regarding the cause of death in the country (World Health Organization, 2013). Notably, campaigns have intensified in the country for people to lead a healthy lifestyle through exercising and eating healthy foods. The disease has created awareness in the country regarding the significance of healthy living, which can be achieved through avoiding unhealthy lifestyles such as refraining from exercising and consumption of fast food. The scourge has also promoted research in the country regarding healthy and unhealthy foods for consumption. People have been generally warned against consuming fast foods such as French fries because they are amongst the foods that contribute to obesity. On the other hand, in Somalia, cancer ranks as the high cause of death. This abounds from the fact that people in the country lead very unhealthy lifestyles. Notably, given the location of the country on the map, most of the adult population engages in unhealthy activities such as tobacco use and Khat chewing. Recent medical research indicates that Khat chewing also contributes to cancer despite its contribution is less severe than that of tobacco smoking. Additionally, women also die from breast cancer in the country and this is particularly caused due to lack of sufficient medical facilities and awareness. Significance of the non-communicable disease in the country abounds from the fact that it calls for establishing of good medical facilities that will help in the early diagnosis and treatment of the diseases.

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Equity, a Concern of MDGs

It is two years from the MDGs deadline, which has escalated debates regarding the way progress and human development can be accelerated. Notably, in the past, progress in development was measured in terms of economic development a thing that MDGs deviated from as they included indicators such as gender equality, environment, education and health. Thus, this explains why equity is a concern for MDGs in that, when equity is promoted in human development through the reduction of the haves and the have-nots, this will be a step for accelerating progress towards MDGs.

Essential Medicines

According to the WHO (2013), essential medicines comprise of the medicine that plays a part in satisfaction of health care needs of the mass population. The WHO indicates that these medicines should be available in appropriate dosage forms and adequate amounts at all times. The essential factor is that the community should be able to afford the medicine (World Health Organization, 2013).

The Challenge of Accessing Essential Medicines in LICs

One factor that challenges the access to medicines in LICs is the way their health services are organized, delivered and financed. A research conducted by DALE indicates that the challenge to access medicine in LICs is promoted by their poorly performing healthcare systems, which deny people an access to medicines. The second challenge to accessing medicines in LICs results from patents (Friedman, Besten & Attaran, 2003). Research asserts that most pharmaceutical companies infrequently seek patents from poor countries, which emanates from the poverty in the country. Thus, this also contributes to a challenge in accessing medicines in LICs because they are not available.

Approaches to Improving Affordability of and Access to Pharmaceuticals

Out-licensing is one of the options for improving affordability of and access to pharmaceuticals. This can be done by pharmaceutical companies in an effort to increase price competition in poor countries. Additionally, it can be done by pharmaceuticals to ensure the availability of essential medicines in LICs. Subsidizing the price between generic and brand drugs also promotes an access to pharmaceuticals. This means that poor countries will afford to import generic drugs that are cheap if they cannot afford brand drugs. Lastly, the development of a global partnership also facilitates an access to pharmaceuticals (World Health Organization, 2013). WHO (2013) has played a critical role in this avenue through essential capacity building, quality assurance and monitoring programs that involve Malaria, HIV/AIDs and Tuberculosis drugs. Additionally, it has taken the step to provide manufacturers with information regarding effective, quality and safe medicines that they ought to produce.

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