This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Daltro Moreira Iori, a medical student with a scholarship from the University for All program of the Federal Government of Brazil, at the University Center of Maringá, Paraná, Brazil. He is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.
According to the World Health Organization, the concept of health is complex and complete, formed by the state of physical, emotional and social well-being, and not just by the absence of disease, as biological disease is just a “subclass” of disease. Furthermore, health and disease are not opposite sides of the same coin, but states that intertwine and that part of the individual and their perspectives understand how each of them affects their state of well-being.
By understanding that the social determinants of health are social, economic, cultural, ethnic/racial, and behavioral factors and that these living and working conditions are directly and indirectly related to the health situation and risk factors for these populations, mainly the minorities and the marginalized, becomes able to understand the importance and influence of intersectionality in the care of the human being¹.
The various social determinants act on the individual based on how much that person has the power to change a situation. Individual factors are important to understand, within the same group, how decision-making influences their health-disease process. However, when buying different groups, in different places, such as the marginalized, black, peripheral and other social minorities, it is clear that their health is also determined by factors such as lack of equity, income distribution, access to services essences and that these intersect and form a broad and complex network that needs to be untied in order to generate comprehensive health care².
Social inequalities and health are increasingly internationalized, due to the conditions in which such groups are born, live, work, age, being more exposed to risk factors and predisposing factors for illness. When thinking about health “beyond the walls” of the health unit and looking at the patient in an integral way, it is clear that all existing differences should not be seen as unique and separate ways, but as an articulated way that influence social positions , in the experiences, in the understanding of the individual’s well-being and health² ³.
Thus, for health to be implemented in its broadest and most complete aspect, it is necessary that there is not only health within the walls of hospitals and offices, but a broad perspective that empowers patients through health education so that they understand the intersectionality and the influence that socio-environmental factors exert on health. In addition, the fight for health is also the fight for the reduction of social inequalities, for basic sanitation, for the gender and race disparity so that everyone can have access to physical, mental and social well-being.
- Buss, PM, & Pellegrini Filho, A. (2007). Health and its social determinants. Physis: collective health journal, 17, 77-93.
- Oliveira, ED, Couto, MT, Separavich, MAA, & Luiz, ODC (2020). Contribution of intersectionality to the understanding of health-disease-care of young men in contexts of urban poverty. Interface-Communication, Health, Education, 24.
- Mello, L., & Gonçalves, E. (2010). Difference and intersectionality: notes for thinking about health practices. Cronos Magazine, 11(2).
About the author
Daltro Moreira Iori is a medical student with a scholarship from the University for All program of the Federal Government of Brazil, at the University Center of Maringá, Paraná, Brazil. He is a member of IFMSA Brazil Unicesumar, scientific director of the Academic League of Urgent Emergencies and Trauma of Maringá, member of the Academic League of Infectious Diseases of Maringá and of the Humanizart extension project. He is also a researcher for the Institutional Scientific Initiation Scholarship Program (PIBIC) in the area of HIV / AIDS and sexual rights and diversity, as well as an enthusiast of public health and the entire intrinsic universe it carries.