The Role of Healthcare in the Improvement of Life Expectancy – Health System Example

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"The Role of Healthcare in the Improvement of Life Expectancy"  is an engrossing example of a paper on the health system. Life expectancy has improved across the world over the years especially in the 20th century. According to the WHO (n. d), life expectancy entails the number of years a person can live on average.   The improvement in life expectancy is attributable to a myriad of factors. Under analysis in this essay are three pertinent factors that have contributed to the increase in life expectancy. These are improved healthcare, public health initiatives, and the filtering and treatment of water in order to prevent diseases.

The developed world has witnessed a number of developments, which have greatly helped in the reduction of susceptibility against diseases while at the same time promoting the global health of an individual. At the same time technologies have been developed that have helped reduce accidents and fatalities. Among the countries that outstand in their life expectancy, levels are Japan and the UK. These countries have demonstrated a positive trend over the years since the mid-years of the 20th century (Bunker, 2001).

These countries among other developed countries have improved healthcare systems. Therefore, it can be argued that healthcare has played a pivotal role in the improvement of life expectancy. Let us put into perspective the influence of healthcare in raising life expectancy.                       Healthcare systems in Japan and the United Kingdom have improved over time hence promoting the health of the citizens. Access to affordable and quality healthcare has been witnessed in these countries. According to the OECD Better Life Index (2014), the expenditure that has been directed towards the healthcare sector has greatly contributed to the improvement in life expectancy.

As opposed to earlier days when healthcare facilities were poor, children today are immunized against diseases hence reducing the mortality rates at a young age. In addition, the development of vaccines against various diseases has created a platform where both young and old can be prevented against diseases (NHS, 2014). This has contributed greatly to the increase in life expectancy. Japan has one of the best healthcare systems among the OECD countries. Health insurance is universalized while the total healthcare spending is among the highest accounting to 9.6% of the GDP (OECD Better Life Index, 2014).

On the other hand, the UK spends about 9.4% of its GDP on healthcare, the same as Japan, health insurance in the UK is almost universalized (OECD Better Life Index, 2014). A number of healthcare interventions saw Japan make a step in the improvement of healthcare in the mid-20th century (19650s and 1960s). The Japanese economic boom facilitated these interventions during this time. The Japanese government made sue that universal health insurance was provided, public health as improved, free treatment of tuberculosis was provided, treatment of intestinal and respiratory infections was developed and vaccination of children (Boseley, 2011).

As a result, life expectancy has risen over the years to reach an all-time high of 83 years (OECD Better Life Index, 2014). Likewise, England has worked on its health infrastructure and enhanced the training of healthcare professionals that have contributed greatly to the healthcare status today. Life expectancy stands at 81 years in the UK. Bothe countries surpass the OECD average life expectancy which stands at 80 years  (OECD Better Life Index, 2014).

References

Bunker, J. P. (2001). The role of medical care in contributing to health improvements within societies. International Journal of Epidemiology, 30(6): 1260-3.

NHS (2014). UK life expectancy still rising. Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/news/2011/03March/Pages/uk-life-expectancy-still-rising.aspx

NIH. (2014). Global health and aging. Retrieved from http://www.nia.nih.gov/research/publication/global-health-and-aging/living-longer

OECD Better Life Index. (2014). Health. Retrieved from http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/health/

WHO. (n.d). Life expectancy. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/topics/life_expectancy/en/

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