Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)

DNA is the hereditary material found in humans and other organisms. DNA, found in nucleus of a cell is known as nuclear DNA and found in mitochondria is known as mitochondrial DNA (NIH, 2014). Genes and chromosomes are made up of DNA and human body contains 20,000 to 25,000 genes (NIH, 2014). Building block of DNA is nucleotide. Nucleotide consists of a pentose sugar, a phosphate group and a nitrogenous base (IPGRI and Cornell University, 2003). Nitrogen-containing molecules or nitrogen bases guanine and adenine are called purines and cytosine and thymine are called pyrimidine.

DNA has unique double helix structure. DNA model and double helix structure was proposed by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953. DNA structure has sugar phosphate backbone. Double helix of DNA is formed by base pairs of Adenine-Thymine (AT) and Guanine-Cytosine (GC). Two DNA strands are joined by hydrogen bonds to form double helix structure (Clark, 2013).  Glycosidic is the bond between a nitrogenous base and a sugar phosphate molecule and Phosphodiester is the bond between the sugar phosphates. The hydrogen bond joining the two strands of DNA is weaker than glycosidic or phosphodiester bonds.

Hydrogen bond can be broken to separate two strands of DNA at higher temperature around 100o C with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the process is called denaturation or melting (May, n.d.). Renaturation or annealing is the process of connecting two strands of DNA with hydrogen bond (May, n.d.). DNA can be replicated to produce two genetically identical daughter cells (NIH, 2014).

References

Clark, J. (2013) DNA-Structure [Online] Available at www.chemguide.co.uk [Accessed on 27 January 2014].

May, P (n.d.) DNA: Deoxyribonucleic Acid [Online] Available at www.bris.ac.uk [Accessed on 27 January 2014].

IPGRI and Cornell University (2003) Using Molecular Marker Technology in Studies on Plant Genetic Diversity [Online] Available at www.irc.igd.cornell.edu [Accessed on 12 January 2014].

National Institute of Health (NIH)(2014) Cells and DNA [Online] Available at www.ghr.nlm.nih.gov [Accessed on 12 January 2014].

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Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has been defined as a policy approach enabling easy access to health services for people of all ages, groups and financial strength. WHO (2013) explained the UHC concept as development issue where people’s ‘right to health’ is protected allowing them to access to quality health services. Financial hardship is an important issue which prevents poor people from accessing health services. According to WHO (2013), 1.4 billion people on earth are not receiving the required health services. UHC policy covers the people who cannot access health services due to their poor financial circumstances.

WHO(2013) outlined low levels of national income, weaker health systems, changing disease patterns, aging populations and high economic and social inequalities as the challenges to implement UHC. Financial weaknesses which include poor economy and poor households adversely affect health sector particularly influencing nutrition, sanitation and environmental exposure of individuals (Eloviano, n.d.; Sachs, J.D., 2012). Coverage of health services, financial coverage and population coverage has been outlined by WHO (2010 cited in Sherry et al., 2012).

Implementation of UHC in middle and low income countries has a number of barriers. However, successful implementation of UHC in Thailand was studied by Ghislandi et al (2013) where 99.5% of the population has at least one type of health insurance. Expanding and strengthening public health systems and increasing taxation power of government to create health funding  are necessary to achieve UHC goals (Eloviano, n.d.) which is supported by Sengupta (2013 ) in his study on health care system of India where private health care accounts for 80% of outpatients and 60% of in-patient care.

References

Elovainio, R. (n.d.) Improving Health Outcomes by Gearing Health Systems towards Universal Health Coverage. [Online] Available at http://www.proparco.fr [Accessed on 20 August 2013].

Ghislandi, S., Manachotphong, W. and Perego, M.E.V. (2013) The Impact of Universal Health Coverage on Healthcare Consumption and Risky Behaviours: Evidence from Thailand. [Online] Available at www.healthsystems2020.org [Accessed on 20 August 2013].

Haas, S., Hatt, L., Leegwater, A., El-Khoury, M. and Wong, W. (2012) Indicators for Measuring Universal Health Coverage: A Five-Country Analysis (DRAFT). Bethesda, MD: Health Systems 20/20 project, Abt Associates Inc.

Sachs, J. D. (2012) Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Low-Income Settings. The Lancet. Vol. 30(9845), pp. 944-947.

Sengupta, A. (2013) Universal Health Care in India: Making It Public, making It a Reality [Online] Available at www.municipalprojectservices.org [Accessed on 20 August 2013].

World Health Organization (WHO)/ The World Bank (2013) Towards Universal Health Coverage: Concepts, Lessons, and Public Policy Challenges. [Online] Available at www.who.int [Accessed on 20 August 2013].

Technology and Health

Health sector has been highly affected by information technology for continuous improvement of quality of healthcare. Provision of high quality and efficient health care services and easy access to health information can be ensured by the application of appropriate information technology in health sector (WHO, 2013; Zhang and Kamal, 2013). Health information technology includes administrative and financial technologies such as patient registration, electronic materials management, clinical technologies such as electronic health records, electronic monitoring of patients and electronic prescribing and infrastructure such as computers, wireless and handheld technology (Accenture.com, 2013; Medpac.gov, 2004).

Medical devices or technology has a vital role in the assessment and diagnosis of health problems. According to WHO (2013), there are more than 1.5 million medical devices worldwide with more than 10000 types of generic device groups and ranges from thermometer, first aid box to complicated technology. Common information technologies used in healthcare as electronic health record (EHR), computerized provider order entry (CPOE), clinical decision support system (CDSS), Picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), bar coding, radio frequency identification (RFID), automated dispensing machines (ADMs), Electronic material management (EMM), and interoperability (Medpac, 2004).

According to Medpac (2004), improvement of quality and efficiency of healthcare can be achieved by enhancing the competence of physicians, nurses, clinical technician and facilitating the patient’s access to clinical information. Implementation of new technology has cost implications and technological intervention may cause negative health outcomes. Medpac (2004) and Morrissey (2004 cited in Medpac, 2004) emphasized the consideration of cost effectiveness and return of the investment to formulate plan and policies and implement IT in the clinical settings.

References

Accenture (2013) Top Three Healthcare Technology Trends: Big, Personal, Social. [Online] Available at http://www.accenture.com/ [Accessed on 17 August 2013].

Deloitte (2013) Physician Adoption of Health Information Technology: Implication for Medical Practice Leaders and Business Partners. [Online] Available at http://www.deloitte.com/ [Accessed on 16 August 2013].

Medpac (2004) Information Technology in Health Care. [Online] Available at http://www.medpac.gov/ [Accessed on 16 August 2013].

World Health Organizations (WHO) (2013) Technology, Health [Online] Available at http://www.who.int/topics/ [Accessed on 16 August 2013].

World Health Organization (WHO) (2013) Medical Devices. [Online] Available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre [Accessed on 15 July 2013].

Zhang, C. and Kamal, M. (2013) A Lens into Investigating Patient Engagement Using Health Information Technology. [Online] Available at http://sais.aisnet.org/ [Accessed on 17 August 2013].