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The Health Status of the Population in Honduras

The health status report is important in healthcare because it provides a snapshot of determinants of health, which influence the health status of the population. The health status of the Honduran population is that of a developing country because the health care system is grappling with major challenges in health. According to Bermudez-Madriz, Saenz, Muiser, and Acosta (2011), about 83% of the population are uninsured while approximately 30% do not access healthcare services. Remoteness of healthcare services, poverty, and illiteracy are some of the barriers that prevent Hondurans from accessing and affording healthcare services. Moreover, fragmented health care system affects the delivery of healthcare services to all people in an equitable manner.

The life expectancy of Hondurans is very low when compared to other nations because Honduras grapples with many health issues. According to World Health Organization (2013), the life expectancy of Hondurans at birth is 67 years owing to high mortality rates, particularly among infants. The infant mortality rate of Honduras is 19 per 1000 live births, which is in the same range as infant mortality rates of developing countries. This implies that the health care system should focus on reducing infant mortality rates to enhance the life expectancy of Hondurans.

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Honduras has a population of about 8 million, which is increasing exponentially. The demographic profile of Honduras indicates that it follows the normal pattern of distribution in which the population decreases with increase in age. According to World Life Expectancy (2014), children with ages between 0 and 14 years constitute 38.1% of the population, the adults with ages between 15 and 54 comprise 58.3% of the population, and the old with 65 years and above constitute 3.6% of the population. The demographic distribution shows that people between the ages of 15 and 64 years are the highest in proportion, and thus determines the health status of the Honduran population.

The top ten health issues that the health care system of Honduras is grappling with are infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, malnutrition, poverty, health inequality, health insurance, infant mortality, maternal mortality, reproductive health, and the fragmented health care system. World Health Organization (2014) reports that infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis coupled with non-communicable like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer are dominant among Hondurans. According to Pan American Health Organization (2009), high rates of unemployment lead to poverty and affect the ability of people to afford quality healthcare services. International Development Agency (2014) perceives infant mortality, maternal mortality, and reproductive health as serious issues in Honduras.

The health care system of Honduras is striving to reverse the trends of communicable and non-communicable diseases. World Life Expectancy (2014) ranks the top ten causes of death as “coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, HIV/AIDS, kidney disease, hypertension, pneumonia, stomach cancer, liver disease, and violence respectively” (para. 6). From the top ten causes of death, it is evident that non-communicable diseases top the list, while communicable diseases follow. Hence, the health care system should focus on non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

Hondurans have cultural beliefs that influence their perceptions of health and treatment of diseases. As Hondurans are Christians, they believe in the spiritual powers of healing, which prevent them from seeking appropriate medical attention. Moreover, given that healthcare services are inaccessible to rural population, the use of herbal medicines is rampant (Pan American Health Organization, 2009). In this view, Hondurans in rural areas believe in traditional medicines more than the modern medicines.