Although the Millennium Development Goals from number four to seven address the issues of universal health care in the world, the issue on the causes of health disparities especially due to ethnic and racism is still a problem.
Health disparities are the variations and frequent occurrences of deaths, diseases, or health problems in a particular group or population due to racism or ethnicity. The population may also be discriminated according to the gender, education status, level of income, and physical/emotional disability.
The variation in health indicators
There is a wide variation of health indicators between the whites and other minor races like the Africans, Indians, Latinos, Asians, and Hispanics in America. In comparison to the whites, the most hit minor races are African American and the Indians in America.
Although the infant mortality rate in the U.S is relatively low, the number of African American infants who die each year still stands high doubling that of the whites. Africans who suffer and die from cardiovascular diseases are about 40% higher than the whites are, while African American cancer patients are 30% more than the whites are.
Thus, the two commonest cancers; prostrate and breast; mainly affect Africans despite a similarity in the screening rates. In addition, deaths among African Americans from the HIV/AIDS pandemic are about seven times higher than in the whites (CDC, 2010). Finally, homicide cases in Africans remain high when compared to the whites.
Diabetes, high blood pressure, tuberculosis, and obesity cases are high in Hispanic Americans than the whites. About 20% of T.B patients in the US are Hispanic. Additionally, infants born to Hispanic parents have low birth weight (CDC 2010 Par.4).
The Indians in America also experience high mortality rates, diabetic cases and they record high number of deaths/injuries from accidents and homicides/suicides. However, Asians are the only minority group with good health in the US when compared to the whites. Unfortunately, women from the pacific island (Vietnam) record high cases of cervical cancer in the US.
Causes for the variations in the health indicators
The health disparity in the United States is due racial discrimination whereby the minority cannot readily access health services. For instance, the minority face obstacles in securing health insurance policies thus raising the cost of medical care. Due to high cost of treatment of chronic diseases, most of the patients succumb to death.
Furthermore, the lack of quality education also denies the minority good employment opportunities, which leads to low income. Consequently, they will be unable to afford the essential commodities in life especially goods pertaining to health. Moreover, a healthy living is parallel to good health, therefore when the minority groups do not eat healthily; they become susceptible to most diseases leading to high mortality rates. Finally, the inability to eradicate racism and ethnicity in the U.S is the major cause of the health disparities.
How to eradicate health disparities
The eradication of racial/ethnic discrimination and promotion of equality in the US will allow the minority to access medication (Satcher, 2000, p.2864). Health providers should concentrate on the diseases/conditions that cause deaths while the US government should monitor closely the health of the minority groups.
The health disparity among the minority groups, especially the blacks, is the main problem, which has contributed to unequal healthcare accessibility in the U.S. but eradication of racism/ethnicity will solve the problem.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). National Center for Health Statistics, Minority Populations. Retrieved from
Satcher, D. (2000). Eliminating global health disparities. Journal of American Medical Association, 284 (22), 2864.