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Different ways of looking at health

'Disease is the matter for Doctors. They test and diagnose individuals to identify the disease. Drugs and surgrey provide the soloution to your health problems. Further advances will come from laboratory science enabling the development of better drugs and deeper knowledge about the working human body. Using appropiate literature, present the strengths and limitations of this statement.

Using the above mentioned statement, this essay will endeavour to assess its strenghths and limitations. Not only will it question whether: 'Disease is a matter for doctors' only, but also, whether: 'Drugs and surgrey provide the solution to one's health problems.' Finally, will the future of the world's health simply rest on forthcoming laboratory advancemeents in manufacturing improved drugs actually lead to more enhanced knowledge of the human body's workings; or will be more a case of re-educating people through empowering goverments

and through them, educating global society.

Disease are disorders which have specific causes, signs and symptoms which make the body function abnormally. They cannot be caused by physical injury, although injuries can open the way to disease. Should 'disease be a matter for doctors' alone, or society in general? Doctors have been the key to testing, diagnosing and managing patients' disease and aliments for centuries. Public health only began to emerge as a force after the Second World War. Hone Schou and David Loccker assert that: '... health is both an individual and a social responsibility that is best secured by collaborative actions at all levels of society.' (pine (ed.), 1997)

Thus, doctors should not bear sole responsibility for diseases. They diagnose and prescribe curatives for aliments already present, but other agencies should be in place to aid disease prevention and health promotion.

The invention of new drugs for disease has helped to ease long-term illnesses

and suffering and, in some cases, cured patients. Nowadays, with everincreasing use of technology, specialised surgrey can be performed that was impossible inthe past, ie 'organ transplants' and 'key-hole' surgrey. Drugs can only do so much therefore, a full breakdown of a patients' life-style is essential.

Joan Busfield states that: ' In Britain, as in other advanced western societies, the health care system is over ridingly oriented towards curing sicknessrather than maintaining health. In terms of activities and spending the National Health Service would be more accurately described as a National Sickness Service or a National Illness Service.' (brusfield, 2000).

Drugs do help in the short term, ie. antibiotics, innoculations, pain relief, etc., and surgery, as a last option. Using preventive medicine can help to avoid drug dependancy and the side effects of specific drugs.

With the future, comes the prospect of many new advances in pharmaceutical

drugs and hopefully, a better understanding of the human body functioning. Major pharmaceutical companies are constantly rieving with each other to get their products on the market. It does not profit them to use the 'preventages measure approach' to improve people's life-styles. They are in business of 'curative' medicine, which makes money.

Medical advancement is always sought after, but not enough emphasis is placed on re-educating people to help themselves, ie. campaigning for healthly eating and regular exercise classes, teaching children from an early age to cook and eat healthily in order to maintain healthy life-styles.

People may be of the opinion that: 'disease is a matter for doctors', because of the length of time they study to qualify. This allows the burden to be put firmly on their shoulders, when it should be shared by all society. People no longer live in the 'Dark Ages' when one could plead ignorance the world has made huge technological advances in all aspects of life. People are living longer, death in childbirth are fewer, as well as infant mortality. 'Health, housing and

sanitation have improved drastically, but the stresses of modern life have taken their toll. Jobs are fewer and no longer for life and the cost of living has risen. Whereas families used to eat fresh food daily, people have now adopted a 'fastfood' living culture, based on processed foods. Increasingly, doctors are dealing with stress related illnesses and obesity, due to twenty first century living therefore, drugs and surgery are not always the answer. Further scientific advances will no doubt occur in time, but basic health promotion via goverment,media, doctors, schools and hospitals, would be more cost effective, not only to the goverment but society itself. This is not a new idea, as Royal Sanitary Commission, stated as much in 1871: 'The contstant relation between the health and vigour of the people and welfare and commerical prosperity of the state requires no argument.... public health is public wealth.' (Acheson 1988).

This can be achieved, as many countries have already made a start by banning smoking in public places. It is no use taking five steps forward and two backwards; society hascome too far. Families and whole communties need re-

educating in order to tackle major health issues. The afore mentioned statement has both strenths and limitations far out weigh the strengths. Disease, everincreasing use of drugs and surgery can all be prevented, to some extent, if people are encourage to take responsibility for their own well being. More funding for health promotion could lead to a better understanding of how the human body functions, with out the need for drugs and additives.


Acheson, D. (1988). 'Foreword. Public Health in England.' Cmd 289. H.M.S.O, London, cited in Fatchett, Anita (1988). Nursing in the new N.H.S. Modern, Dependable? 3, (33-35), p.49.

Busfield, Joan. (2000). Health and Health Care in Modern Britain, 4, (10-14), p.103.

Schou, Lone and Locker, David. (1992). 'Principles of oral health,' cited in pine, Cynthia M. (ed.). (1997). Community Oral Health, 11, (12-14), p.177.