Reshaping Health Care Systems

Challenges: Intersectional inequalities, health care of marginalised groups

Across the globe, we witness distressing inequalities in health care along the lines of gender, race, disability, class, age, rural-urban dynamics, and sexual diversity. This is a challenge to the values of democracy and social justice as well as to people’s participation in society. In order for people to be part of a democratic society, they must be healthy: physically, mentally, and socially motivated to be active in the local community. Adopting an intersectional lens, we propose solutions that take into account the experiences of marginalised groups in health care, often overlooked in public discourse. All solutions must be adapted to the local context and be conscious of different needs depending on the region, culture, ways of communication, lifestyles, as well as power relations informing the provision of and access to health care. We therefore propose the development of two areas: education and research on health care inequalities, and the implementation of practical solutions affecting citizens (mainly in the area of diagnostics and treatment) and health care professionals.

Proposal: Revision of education, training and research and practical solutions

Recognizing and tackling intersectional inequalities in health care through the inclusion of the struggles of marginalised groups and their health care needs within Research & Development and education by increasing funding for research and development projects targeting currently insufficiently researched issues such as the recognition of non-white pain in medical treatment, while revising educational training curriculums for healthcare professionals to include health care inequalities among marginalised groups. This includes but is not limited to cultural competency and LGBTQI+ sensitivity training, and equally entails revising educational training curriculums for pupils and students to include sexual education as well as the reworking of textbooks in medical, social and legal care, taking into account different medical needs between people of diverse genders, sexual orientations, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC).

Practical solutions:

  1. Providing free and regular testing and eliminating taxes on sanitary products (e.g., menstrual products to combat menstrual poverty);
  2. Strengthening the advocacy and inclusion of medical practices that take into account biological differences between men and women or races to increase and encourage safety, in research and development (e.g., seat belts, sports harnesses, cancer detection);
  3. Facilitating access and funding for health care/clinics in more rural, and ethnic areas, for example, supporting the elderly and immobile by organising and scheduling targeted care drives in rural areas with health professionals and increasing the availability of tests in places where there is limited access to clinics and doctors (e.g., in lower-income districts);
  4. Empowering health care workers through the provision of a fair wage and regulations ensuring adequate break times, and increasing support for carers, taking care of children, the elderly, or people with health conditions or impairments, by, for example, providing a fair wage, psychological and medical assistance and training (e.g., on how to work with the body and relieve physical tension);
  5. Legalising the provision of and access to information on abortions as well as facilitating access to safe and legal abortions, including quality post-abortion care.

Impact: Healthy individuals for a healthy society

Psycho-physiological needs are necessary internal precursors to ensure basic human survival, a fundamental basis for humans to thrive, innovate, and participate in society. Receiving proper health and mental health care will not only facilitate citizens’ well-being overall but also serve to encourage faith and participation in the democratic process. We thus envision a fair and just society including more equitable, holistic health care for all taking the needs of diverse citizens into consideration to encourage democratic participation.