Social Norms in Healthcare and Disease Prevention
It goes without saying that social norms played a substantial role in people’s awareness concerning health care and their perception of certain diseases. From the time of the European colonization of India and Africa, native populations were regarded as primitive, dirty, and contaminated due to their skin color. Colonial governments focused on the indigenous people’s hygiene and their “degree of moral education” as filth was defined as not only the result of natural conditions but the symbol of immorality and savagery as well.
Unfortunately, many prejudices related to race currently remained the same. African people and the whole continent are frequently regarded as primitive and infected, however, Europeans and Americans who suffer from African-originated diseases receive a completely different attitude. From a personal perspective, social norms that humiliate other people due to their race are unacceptable, and all patients with the same disease should be addressed with equal attention.
In my opinion, social norms should be definitely reconsidered as an absence of racial prejudice and health inequalities due to a lack of access to medical technologies and poverty will positively influence global health. In the Orinoco Delta of Venezuela, a significant number of children and adults constantly die from cholera that is transmitted by contaminated food and water. There are no appropriate sanitary infrastructures, medical supplies, and physicians in the clinics, and such a situation is terrific. According to Singer and Baer, culture and social norms play a substantial role “in producing illness and death.”
However, I believe that people can not only prevent hazardous climate change but revaluate their attitude towards each other to improve global health for themselves and their descendants as well.