In this modern age of technology, human healthcare has received enormous benefit from technology and its development.
For example, life expectancy and overall health have improved for most American, due to extensive research on preventive medicine and new advancements in medical technology (‘About’, 2005).
United Kingdom’s population within the 20th century also characterized modern and developed health stature, with balanced and controlled birth and death rate (Weisser, 2005).
However, health care practitioners have realized new problems of healthcare, which do not concern the lack of technological advancements. The Cultural difference between patients and health care practitioners has been identified as an increasingly significant problem in United States’ health care.
This is due to the growing diversity of United States’ population. Localized studies in United Kingdom also reported that several ethnic minorities have poorer health status than dominating race (Parry, 2004).
Cultural differences have caused variance of health perspectives among patients. Different health perspectives resulted patients to behave differently when facing health problems.
This paper will address the problem of different health beliefs in health care and present a literature review, which display how scholars, scientists and health practitioners understand and deal with cultural issues related to health care.
I. Multicultural Society
II.1 Growing Diversity
The United States, for example, is known to be a multicultural nation. Besides the dominating Anglo-Americans, the African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians and the Pacific Islanders has been considered inseparable parts of American community.
Today, Asian are the most rapidly growing minority group in terms of percentage, while in absolute number, Hispanics have recorded to have the highest growth rate. According to the US Census, by the year of 2020, Asian will comprise 6.5% of the population, while Hispanics would reach 16% of the population (Sleath, 2002).
Another example of diverse population is the United Kingdom. Although not as complex as the United States, the ethnic minority population has been recorded to grow significantly.
According to 2001 census, 4.6 million people in the United Kingdom are ethnic minorities. In Great Britain, the minority ethnic population grew by 53 % between 1993 and 2001. Mixed race are 1.2 % of the entire population, Asian and Asian British are 4%, Blacks and Black British are 2%, Chinese and other minority races are approximately 0.8% of the whole population (‘Ethnicity’, 2005).
II.2 Health Condition of Minorities
II.2.1 United States
According to the Office of Minority Health (2005), many racial and ethnic minorities in United States have not yet enjoy the same level of health care as other Americans. To some extent, researchers believed that cultural aspects cause this condition. Appropriate health care is still associated with economic stature, race and gender. Below is the health condition of some of the ethnic minorities in America:
¨ African American has been recorded to have double the size of infant death rate and prostate cancer death rate as that of the whites. Death rates by heart disease among African American are 40% higher than the whites, while cancer death rate is 30% higher. HIV death rate is more than 7 times for the African American compare to the whites.
¨ Hispanics have also presented a considerable lack of health care condition. Hispanics have been known to have a high rate of diabetic disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. Hispanics and especially the Puerto Ricans are recorded to have 50% higher rate of low birth weight infants than the whites.
¨ Infant death rates and diabetic diseases of the American Indian and Alaska natives are double than the whites. Some regions occupied by the natives are even recorded to have the highest rates of diabetes in the world.
The disproportionately high death rates from unintentional injuries and suicide among American Indians display a lack of access to proper physical as well as mental health care.
Asians and the Pacific Islanders are mentioned to be the healthiest minority group in the United States. However, some specific races constitute a higher rate of particular diseases among others. Vietnamese women are recorded to suffer from cervical cancer five time the rate for whites.
The highest disproportionate cases of disease are Hepatitis and Tuberculosis, which rate is significantly higher than the whites.