Health Equity As an Essential Indicator of Public Health Planning
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “an innate state of full physical, mental and emotional well being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity.” Various definitions have been applied to health throughout time. Broadly speaking, health is associated with the ability to lead a happy and productive life, the ability to enjoy life and attain happiness and well-being.
Health equity refers to differences in health status that might result from cultural, economic or social structures. Health equity has become an increasing focus in public health and policy. It is the difference between what people have access to and the way they achieve health. It is a complex concept that considers both structural barriers to health as well as gaps in knowledge and potential for improvement.
Health planning seeks to address the health disparities that exist today. The primary function of this planning phase is to identify and address health disparities in communities so that all residents have access to quality health services. This action plan considers the various social determinants of health. These determinants include family history of health, social class, geography, health status, sociodemographics, and access to health care and other services.