When we talk about the barriers to health care, we refer to the numerous factors owing to which an average citizen of the nation either doesn't get the necessary health care, or gets inferior health care as compared to others.
A range of factors come together to give rise to such barriers; the most prominent ones being financial constraints, language barrier, and inadequate knowledge about the system. Studies have revealed that millions of Americans experience difficulty or delays in getting necessary medical attention owing to these barriers.
Decoding the Barriers to Health Care
In terms of providing the basic health care, a lot needs to be done across the world. One of the basic steps is to identify the barriers encountered in the process. These barriers are broadly categorized into four groups: geographical, socioeconomic, cultural, and organizational.
The urban-rural divide is the most prominent factor in this case. Given a choice, a vast majority of the medical practitioners choose to work in the urban areas. This creates a shortage of staff in the rural medical centers.
That, however, doesn't mean that the geographical health care barriers are only restricted to the rural regions. Such disturbing trends are witnessed in the urban regions as well. Some cities, for instance, have become agglomerations of medical institutions, but the patient base to which it caters is not to be seen in the radius of miles around it.
As a large number of people are uninsured, medical practitioners hesitate to take up their cases. However, these people cite that the lack of knowledge about affordable health insurance options keeps them back from opting for insurance. Some of these barriers can also be traced to the urban-rural divide, with a substantial economic disparity between the two.
As far as cultural barriers are concerned, they are primarily related to the social, linguistic, and religious issues. Social and religious taboos within particular cultures do hold back many females from approaching a gynecologist for problems related to sexual health.
As far as linguistic differences are concerned, the United States, wherein a large section of immigrants can't speak English, is perhaps the best example. Rapid increase in the number of immigrants in the United States and other developed regions, only means that these cultural differences will worsen with time if ignored.
Several organizational barriers also play a crucial role when it comes to the failure to impart proper health care to the needy. A large number of medical practitioners allege that working with people from the limited income group is difficult (as they don't give importance to the advice given to them).
Irrespective of whether only one or more of these barriers are prominent, the end result is bound to be improper health care provisions in the society. That being said, the onus is on the administration to make sure that such barriers are curbed, and health care, which is a necessity, is provided in a fair manner.