The Health Field Concept
The health field is a term used to include all the factors that affect health in addition to the healthcare system. Such a framework was developed and called the Health Field Concept. The health field concept has divided the health field into four elements: human biology, environment, lifestyle and healthcare organisation. These are referred to as the determinants of health.
- Human biology includes all those aspects of health, both physical and mental, which are developed within the human body as a consequence of the basic biology of human beings and the organic make-up of an individual. For example, age is one of the biological determinants of health — because older people are more at risk of developing non-communicable diseases such as cancer.
- Environment includes all those matters related to health which are external to the human body and over which the individual has little or no control. Some examples of matters included in this element include geography, climate, industrial development and the economy. For example, people living in the lowland areas (geographic factors) are more exposed to malaria than people living in the highlands. If the economic environment gets worse then more people will have to live in poverty — and this is very bad for their health.
- Lifestyle is made up of the habits and usual practices of human beings which affect their health and over which they more or less have control. For example people who are not sleeping under insecticide treated bed nets are at more risk of acquiring malaria.
- Health care organisation consists of the arrangement and resources that are used in the provision of healthcare — often referred to as the healthcare system. For example if someone is sick from malaria and there are no health facilities nearby to treat the patient, the patient is more likely to develop a severe complication and may even die.
Match the examples below with the four elements in the Health Field Concept:
- Economic conditions
- Healthcare system
- Insecticide regimes.
1b, 2a, 3d, 4c.
The important thing here is to be clear about the sorts of things that crop up in each element. Here we have only given one example for each element. Before you go on, in your head add another couple of examples to each element. Be sure this concept is familiar to you.