A healthy childhood means a healthy adulthood because growth and development, which take place from the fetal stage through into childhood determines the health status of an adult. The relationship between a healthy childhood and a healthy adulthood is very complex because a number of factors mediate the relationship. Assessment of social determinants of health that are in a given society can accurately predict the health conditions of the population in that society. This implies that social determinants of health such as gender, culture, income, education, physical environment, social environment, and healthcare services determine a healthy childhood and consequently a healthy adulthood. According to Pearson, Stevens, Sanogo, and Bearman (2012), the variation in social determinants is responsible for the health inequities that are evident across communities, societies, and nations. In this view, paper examines the case study of Honduras and assesses its potential for a healthy childhood.
A significant number of people who live in rural areas are unable to access healthcare services in Honduras. The inaccessibility of healthcare services is a factor that influences the health conditions of children who are in remote areas. According to Pearson et al. (2012), 30% of 8 million populations do not have access to healthcare services, which translates to about 2.4 million people. The health care system of Honduras needs to expand its healthcare services to reach remote areas so that people can access them. This means that healthcare system still has the potential of improving accessibility of healthcare services, and consequently, improves the health conditions of children. The expansion of healthcare services for people in remote areas to access would guarantee a healthy childhood.
The inaccessibility of healthcare services in remote areas of Honduras is due to differences in social determinants of health. While the urban population has improved socioeconomic lifestyles, the rural population is languishing in poverty. Pearson et al. (2012) report that 95% of the residents in rural areas use the healthcare services for curative purposes while 51% use them for preventive purposes. From these statistics, it is evident that the rural population does not optimize the use of preventive care, yet it is an indispensable portion of healthcare. Owing to the differences in the utilization of healthcare services between the rural and urban settings, it is apparent there are health inequities in Honduras. In this view, the health care system should reduce health inequities so that the rural population can use preventive care in improving health conditions of their children, and consequently, creates a healthy childhood.
Maternal Health and Child Care
Although Honduras has poor maternal health, the health care system in conjunction with World Health Organization and other stakeholders has established programs that promote accessibility of maternal, prenatal, and antenatal care to diverse populations both in rural and urban settings. Maternal care is very poor in Honduras because statistics show that 100 deaths per 1000 live births occur among mothers. The high rate of maternal deaths is due to poor maternal care and inaccessibility of healthcare. As maternal care correlate with childcare, the health care system needs to improve it as a way of improving a healthy childhood. Shiffman (2007) reports that Honduras has established programs that target HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other infectious disease with the objective of reducing both maternal mortality and infant mortality. Hence, if Honduras manages to reduce incidences of these diseases among women, it would guarantee a healthy childhood.
Antenatal and prenatal healthcare services are important aspects of healthcare that determine health conditions of children. World Health Organization (2013) states that Honduras has cooperated in the establishment of the National Health Plan, which seeks to accelerate reduction of infant mortality by increasing coverage of vaccination. The accelerated reduction of infant mortality is apparent because it has reduced from about 50 deaths per 1000 live births to about 19 deaths per 1000 live births in 2014. The statistics imply that by improving maternal and infant care, Honduras has a great potential of reducing infant mortality rates to below 10 deaths per 1000 live births.
Poverty and Malnutrition
Poverty and malnutrition are inseparable elements that determine health status of a population. According to World Health Organization (2013), 58.8% of the population lives below poverty level, while 36.4% of the population is extremely poor. Insufficient production of food coupled with poverty reduces food security and predisposes the population to frequent hunger strikes. Owing to the high poverty level, families are unable to feed their children with nutritious food thus making them to suffer from malnutrition. However, Honduras has managed to improve food security and advocate for healthy lifestyles, which are central in the creation of a healthy childhood.
Analysis of the social determinants of health indicates that Honduras has the potential of creating a healthy childhood. Improving accessibility of healthcare services to the rural population, provision of maternal and infant care, reduction of poverty, and promotion of food security and nutrition are some of the potential interventions that Honduras should apply in creating a healthy childhood. Overall, Honduras has a significant potential of improving social determinants of health and thus create a healthy childhood
Pearson, C., Stevens, M., Sanogo, K., & Bearman, G. (2012). Access and barriers to healthcare vary among three neighboring communities in Northern Honduras. International Journal of Family Medicine, 2(3), 1-6.
Shiffman, J. (2007). Generating political priority for maternal mortality reduction in 5 developing countries. American Journal of Public Health, 97(5), 796-806.
World Health Organization (2013). Honduras: Country cooperation strategy at a glance. Web.