Many of the factors that determine a person’s life is based on who, what, when and where they were born. People like to think that they have a certain amount of control in their lives, but the reality is that most of the big life decisions have already been made for them. According to WHO the social determinants of health are the neighborhood and build environment, health and health care, social and community context, education, and economic stability (ODPHP 2018). The focus of social determinants of health is the inequalities that arise from the different social factors. An example is the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest members of any country. To close the gap of health inequality, public policy makers must be hard at work to shape the environment and provide aid to lower social classes (WHO 2003).
When a country is in war, the social determinants of health are varied because the overall population is affected. However, it is still the civilians in poorer classes who suffer the most. Civilians experience displacement of population, lack of access to health care, destruction of social networks, and random acts of violence to name a few (WHO 2008). Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world with a strong patriarchal structure in society. There are many levels of social classes in Yemen, and one’s life is determined for them based on where they were born. Though there has been basic material aid provided to the Yemeni people, who gets the resources first is socially determined (Marmot 2005). One of the main ways to bring about change to health inequalities is with policy since it can alter social structures (Mackenbach 2014). Changes in policy are essential for the well-being of these women, because it’ll give them a chance to receive the healthcare and education they need. However, the culture they live in doesn’t see the importance of supporting the women in their country.
For this course, I’ve been focusing on women’s health and how Yemini women experience great inequalities in society. Gender-based violence was highly prevalent in Yemini women, but has increased significantly because of the war. The pertinent determinants of the women’s health are their social class and education. In Yemen, there are different levels of status even within lower social classes. If a person is in a lower class, they experience much more violence and have the hardest time accessing basic resources. The overall level of education for women is much lower, and this affects what they know about laws of the land, healthcare systems, and even about maternity and personal health. There is a need for women’s empowerment by the family and society, giving women more decision-making power in their life. The social health determinants of health that are related to women empowerment are socioeconomic, health system, and psychosocial factors (Kiani 2016). To help the women of Yemen for the long term is to empower them and give them more power over their life decisions but changing the culture will take much more than politics.
Kiani, Z., Simbar, M., Dolatian, M., & Zayeri, F. (2016). Correlation between social determinants of health and women’s empowerment in reproductive decision-making among iranian women. Global Journal of Health Science, 8(9), 54913.
Mackenbach, J. P. (2014). Political determinants of health. European Journal of Public Health, 24(1), 2-2. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckt183
Marmot, M. (2005). Social determinants of health inequalities. The Lancet, 365(9464), 1099-1104. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)71146-6
ODPHP. (2018). Social Determinants of Health. Retrieved from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-of-health
WHO. (2003). Social determinants of health: The solid facts 2nd edition. Retrieved from http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp270-us18/files/2015/05/Soc-Determs-of-Hlth-the-solid-facts-WHO-2003.pdf
WHO. (2008). Social determinants of health in countries in conflict. Retrieved from http://applications.emro.who.int/dsaf/dsa955.pdf