Major Public Health Issues In The US And The Developing Nations

932 words | 4 page(s)

Public health is one of the most important issues that the government and its partners needs to address because it affects the workforce and overall productivity of the country. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast infant mortality rates and HIV rates among the United States, United Kingdom, and Swaziland.

Swaziland is the country with the highest HIV prevalence in the world. From 2011 to 2014, Swaziland’s HIV prevalence rate increased from 25% to 27%. It is projected that the figure will reach 35% by 2020 if the stakeholders do not invest in ways of managing the epidemic (Davidson, 2014). While the United States and United Kingdom have some of the lowest prevalence rates in the world in relation to country population, Swaziland’s national health is gravely affected by the disease (Christof, 2014).

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However, in order for Swaziland to lower the prevalence rate, it needs to implement social and financial resources in dealing with the disease. For instance, Swaziland should take note of how the United States has invested in its national health. The United States, for example, invested nearly $30 billion in 2014 to combat HIV (Greenwald, 2014). In addition, the United States provides health care coverage, support, and care for people living with HIV by giving them access to Medicaid, Medicare, HOPWA, the Ryan White Program, and the Housing Opportunities for Individuals with HIV program. Thus, it is important for Swaziland to invest in public health by establishing and funding health-related programs.

As at 2014, the infant mortality rate for Swaziland was 57 deaths per 1000 live births that translate to about 11 deaths for every 200 live births. Infant mortality is a serious public health issue that governments need to address. Although the United States and United Kingdom have significantly lower infant mortality than Swaziland, the loss of even one infant per 1000 live births is still a grave failure (Beyrer, 2013). Thus, in order of Swaziland to reduce its infant mortality rate, it should invest in prenatal care. It needs to learn from the United States that has invested in prenatal care.

For example, in the United States, the 2020 Healthy People Goal has focused on providing early and sufficient prenatal care to 77% of pregnant females. In addition, the U.S Department Of Health And Human Services went on a nationwide campaign to educate both men and women the importance of prenatal care. For instance, the Department Of Health promotes healthy living by counseling people against alcohol consumption and smoking during pregnancy (Patel, 2014). Thus, it is important for Swaziland to make prenatal care a national priority in order to have a real chance at lowering its infant mortality rate.

Impact on Nursing Practice
As at 2011, the number of people employed in the United States health care industry was close to 12 million of which three million were nurses. Based on the population in the United States, the figure translates to 98 nurses per 10, 000 people. In the United States, nurses serve five main roles that include maternal-infant nursing, adult medical-surgical nursing, psychiatric nursing, pediatric nursing, and geriatric nursing (Charlotte, 2014). It is important to note the available workforce in the United States has positively affected its health. For example, the life expectancy in the United States increased from 75 years in 1990 to 78 years in 2013. As a result, nursing practice in the United States is viewed as the pillar of the nation’s health because nurses are the ones who care for the patients.

The United Kingdom, on the other hand, has about 20,000 doctors and nurses. The nursing practice of the United Kingdom is similar to the one in the U.S with nurses performing similar roles in both countries (Baggot, 2014). In addition, the nursing practice in the U.K is also considered as the cornerstone of the nation’s health because nurses are responsible for caring for the population (Baugerman, 2013). However, the available workforce in the U.K has a significant effect on its public health. For example, the life expectancy as of 2014 was 81 years (World Data Bank, 2015). Because of the high level of the country’s health, nursing is one of the most desired careers.

With a population of 1.25 million, Swaziland has 241 doctors and 1778 nurses. The figure translates to 0.03 doctors per 1000 people. Based on the figure, it is clear that Swaziland has a low doctor to patient ratio (World Health Organization, 2015). Unlike the U.S and U.K where nursing has advanced into several disciplines, the nursing practice in Swaziland is not fully developed. Although nurses provide care for patients and assist physicians, the nursing practice in the country still has a long way to go. As a result, the available labor force is not sufficient to care for the population. For example, the life expectancy of Swaziland as of 2014 was 48 years. Thus, Swaziland has not discovered the potential of nursing in improving its national health.

In summary, the national health of developed nations is higher than the health of poor or underdeveloped nations. Swaziland’s low performance in infant mortality rate and HIV prevalence rate can be attributed to its low investment in health and nursing. As a result, developing nations should improve public health by investing national health programs and nursing.

  • Baggot, R. (2014). Health and health care in Britain. London: Liverpool press.
  • Baugerman, D. (2013). UK healthcare spending reaches £144 billion in 2012. Accessed on 5th March, 2015. Retrieved at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/psa/expenditure-on-healthcare-in-the-uk/2012/sty-cost-of-healthcare.html?format=hi-vis
  • Beyrer, C. (2013). Public health aspects of HIV/AIDS in low and middle-income countries. CA: Springer Press.
  • Charlotte, S. (2014). Summary health statistics for the United States. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Greenwald, H. (2014). Health care in the United States: organization and management. New York: Cengage Learning.

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