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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Unequal Healthcare Around the World

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Date: October 15, 2008
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Related materials from ESL Discussions.com on healthcare and poverty.

THE ARTICLE

World healthcare system for the rich

A new United Nations report has found that healthcare systems across the world are becoming more unequal. The annual World Health Report, launched on October 14th by the World Health Organization (WHO), found that the healthcare gap between rich and poor people is wider today than it was thirty years ago. Even people living in the same city experience enormous differences in the quality of medical care they have access to. The WHO said in its report: “In far too many cases, people who are well-off and generally healthier have the best access to the best care, while the poor are left to fend for themselves.” Perhaps the saddest conclusion of the report is that health care today is frequently treated as something which hospitals can make profits on.


 
 

The WHO recommends a return to a more basic “primary health care” system that many countries developed in the 1970s. Back then, the sick could visit a family doctor and get the treatment they needed. The report says healthcare no longer focuses on poorer members of society: “Health care is often delivered according to a model that concentrates on diseases, high technology, and specialist care,” it stated. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said: “Viewed against current trends, primary health care looks more and more like a smart way to get health development back on track.” She added: “We are, in effect, encouraging countries to go back to the basics.” More than 100 million people are pushed below the poverty line each year because they cannot afford healthcare.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. HEALTH CARE: Walk around the class and talk to other students about health care. Change partners often. After you finish, sit with your partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

United Nations / gap between rich and poor / medical care / being well-off / profits /
a return to basics / the sick / treatment / diseases / specialist care / poverty line

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. WELL-OFF?: Are you well off? Complete the table below. Compare the services you get with other people in the world. Share what you wrote with your partner(s). Who is the most well-off?

Service

Why I’m better-off than some

Why I’m worse-off than some

Healthcare

 

 

Housing

 

 

Education

 

 

Environment

 

 

Parks

 

 

Pension

 

 

4. FREE FOR ALL: Students A strongly believe basic healthcare should be free for all; Students B strongly believe everyone should pay at least a little for healthcare. Change partners again and talk about your roles and conversations.

5. 30 YEARS AGO: Was life better 30 years ago? Talk about these things with your partner(s). Which of them were better and which were worse and why?

  • Healthcare
  • Crime and safety
  • Family values
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Holidays
  • Society
  • Communication

6. POVERTY: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘poverty’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

The UN has made a special healthcare system just for rich people.

T / F

b.

The gap between rich and poor is 30 times wider than it used to be.

T / F

c.

People who live in the same city generally receive the same healthcare.

T / F

d.

A UN report says it’s sad that hospitals are out to make profits.

T / F

e.

The UN recommends a return to the healthcare system of the 1970s.

T / F

f.

Healthcare today is based on a system of visiting family doctors.

T / F

g.

The UN said today’s healthcare systems follow the wrong model.

T / F

h.

Healthcare costs push 100 million a year below the poverty line.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

1.

unequal

a.

huge

2

gap

b.

one-sided

3.

enormous

c.

cope alone

4.

well-off

d.

suggests

5.

fend for themselves

e.

in the right direction

6.

recommends

f.

care

7.

treatment

g.

difference

8.

current

h.

pay for

9.

on track

i.

present

10.

afford

j.

rich

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one. combination is possible):

1.

healthcare systems across the world are

a.

on track

2

the healthcare gap

b.

quality of medical care

3.

enormous differences in the

c.

are well-off

4.

people who

d.

could visit a family doctor

5.

the saddest conclusion

e.

below the poverty line

6.

Back then, the sick

f.

basics

7.

healthcare no longer focuses on

g.

becoming more unequal

8.

get health development back

h.

poorer members of society

9.

go back to the

i.

of the report

10.

100 million people are pushed

j.

between rich and poor people

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

A new United Nations report has __________ that healthcare systems across the world are becoming more __________. The annual World Health Report, launched on October 14th by the World Health Organization (WHO), found that the healthcare __________ between rich and poor people is __________ today than it was thirty years ago. Even people living in the same city experience enormous differences in the quality of medical care they have __________ to. The WHO said in its report: “In far too many cases, people who are well-off and generally healthier have the best access to the best care, while the poor are left to __________ for themselves.” Perhaps the saddest __________ of the report is that health care today is frequently treated as something which hospitals can make __________ on.

 

access
gap
profits
found
fend
unequal
conclusion
wider

The WHO recommends a __________ to a more basic “primary health care” system that many countries developed in the 1970s. Back then, the __________ could visit a family doctor and get the treatment they needed. The report says healthcare no longer __________ on poorer members of society: “Health care is often __________ according to a model that concentrates on diseases, high technology, and __________ care,” it stated. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said: “Viewed against current __________, primary health care looks more and more like a smart way to get health development back on track.” She added: “We are, in effect, encouraging countries to go __________ to the basics.” More than 100 million people are pushed below the poverty __________ each year because they cannot afford healthcare.

 

delivered
 
sick
line
trends
return
back
focuses
specialist

LISTENING:  Listen and fill in the spaces.

A new United Nations report has found that healthcare _________________ world are becoming more unequal. The annual World Health Report, launched on October 14th by the World Health Organization (WHO), found that the healthcare gap between rich and poor people _________________ it was thirty years ago. _________________ in the same city experience enormous differences in the quality of medical care _________________. The WHO said in its report: “In far too many cases, people who are well-off and generally healthier have _________________ the best care, while the poor are _________________ themselves.” Perhaps the saddest conclusion of the report is that health care today is frequently treated as something which hospitals _________________.

The WHO recommends a return _________________ “primary health care” system that many countries developed in the 1970s. Back then, the sick _________________ doctor and get the treatment they needed. The report says healthcare no longer focuses on poorer members of society: “Health _________________ delivered according to a model that concentrates on diseases, high technology, and specialist care,” it stated. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said: “Viewed _________________, primary health care looks more and more _________________ to get health development back on track.” She added: “We are, in effect, encouraging countries to go _________________.” More than 100 million people are pushed below the _________________ year because they cannot afford healthcare.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘rich’ and ‘poor’.

rich

poor

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • across
  • gap
  • city
  • cases
  • fend
  • profits
  • return
  • visit
  • delivered
  • trends
  • track
  • line

STUDENT HEALTHCARE SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about healthcare in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

Q.2.

Q.3.

Q.4.

Q.5.

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

WORLD HEALTHCARE DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘healthcare’?

c)

What’s the system of healthcare in your country like?

d)

Do you think healthcare should be free for everyone?

e)

Are you surprised healthcare is becoming more unequal?

f)

Are there differences in the quality of healthcare in your city?

g)

What do the poor do for healthcare if they have to fend for themselves?

h)

Have you ever had to fend for yourself?

i)

Is it right for hospitals to make profits?

j)

Is there a big healthcare gap in your country?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

Do you agree with a return to a more basic healthcare system?

c)

How is it possible the healthcare systems of the 1970s were better than those today?

d)

What do you think of the idea of having a family doctor?

e)

Have healthcare systems lost sight of the poor?

f)

Do you think countries will go back to basics?

g)

If more people are living longer, isn’t healthcare working?

h)

What do you think life is like on the poverty line?

i)

Would you like to go back to basics in your life?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Dr. Margaret Chan?

LANGUAGE

A new United Nations report has found that healthcare systems across the world are becoming more (1) ____. The annual World Health Report, launched on October 14th by the World Health Organization (WHO), found that the healthcare (2) ____ between rich and poor people is wider today than it was thirty years ago. (3) ____ people living in the same city experience enormous differences in the quality of medical care they have access to. The WHO said in its report: “In far too many (4) ____, people who are well-off and generally healthier have the best access to the best care, while the poor are left to (5) ____ for themselves.” Perhaps the saddest conclusion of the report is that health care today is frequently treated as something which hospitals can make profits (6) ____.

The WHO recommends a return to a (7) ____ basic “primary health care” system that many countries developed in the 1970s. Back then, the (8) ____ could visit a family doctor and get the treatment they needed. The report says healthcare no longer focuses (9) ____ poorer members of society: “Health care is often delivered according to a model that concentrates on diseases, high technology, and specialist care,” it stated. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said: “Viewed against current (10) ____, primary health care looks more and more like a smart way to get health development back on track.” She added: “We are, in (11) ____, encouraging countries to go back to the basics.” More than 100 million people are pushed below the poverty (12) ____ each year because they cannot afford healthcare.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

equity

(b)

equals

(c)

inequality

(d)

unequal

2.

(a)

gape

(b)

gappy

(c)

gap

(d)

gaper

3.

(a)

For

(b)

Even

(c)

Uneven

(d)

Odd

4.

(a)

cases

(b)

bags

(c)

wallets

(d)

purses

5.

(a)

fen

(b)

fence

(c)

fend

(d)

feng shui

6.

(a)

of

(b)

at

(c)

to

(d)

on

7.

(a)

lots

(b)

more

(c)

much

(d)

many

8.

(a)

sick

(b)

sickness

(c)

sicko

(d)

sicken

9.

(a)

in

(b)

on

(c)

over

(d)

through

10.

(a)

trend

(b)

trendy

(c)

trends

(d)

trendsetter

11.

(a)

effect

(b)

effective

(c)

affect

(d)

effects

12.

(a)

lanes

(b)

linear

(c)

lane

(d)

line

WRITING: 

Write about healthcare for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about the UN World Health Report. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. HEALTHCARE: Make a poster about the types of healthcare in your country. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. THE GAP: Write a magazine article about the healthcare gap between rich and poor people. Include imaginary interviews with a rich and poor person.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. DIARY / JOURNAL: You are a doctor. Write about one day in your life. Read your entry to your classmates in the next lesson.

6. LETTER: Write a letter to Dr. Margaret Chan. Ask her three questions about the healthcare gap between rich and poor people. Give her three suggestions on what she should do next. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. F

c. F

d. T

e. T

f. F

g. T

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

unequal

a.

one-sided

2

gap

b.

difference

3.

enormous

c.

huge

4.

well-off

d.

rich

5.

fend for themselves

e.

cope alone

6.

recommends

f.

suggests

7.

treatment

g.

care

8.

current

h.

present

9.

on track

i.

in the right direction

10.

afford

j.

pay for

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

healthcare systems across the world are

a.

becoming more unequal

2

the healthcare gap

b.

between rich and poor people

3.

enormous differences in the

c.

quality of medical care

4.

people who

d.

are well-off

5.

the saddest conclusion

e.

of the report

6.

Back then, the sick

f.

could visit a family doctor

7.

healthcare no longer focuses on

g.

poorer members of society

8.

get health development back

h.

on track

9.

go back to the

i.

basics

10.

100 million people are pushed

j.

below the poverty line

GAP FILL:

World healthcare system for the rich

A new United Nations report has found that healthcare systems across the world are becoming more unequal. The annual World Health Report, launched on October 14th by the World Health Organization (WHO), found that the healthcare gap between rich and poor people is wider today than it was thirty years ago. Even people living in the same city experience enormous differences in the quality of medical care they have access to. The WHO said in its report: “In far too many cases, people who are well-off and generally healthier have the best access to the best care, while the poor are left to fend for themselves.” Perhaps the saddest conclusion of the report is that health care today is frequently treated as something which hospitals can make profits on.

The WHO recommends a return to a more basic “primary health care” system that many countries developed in the 1970s. Back then, the sick could visit a family doctor and get the treatment they needed. The report says healthcare no longer focuses on poorer members of society: “Health care is often delivered according to a model that concentrates on diseases, high technology, and specialist care,” it stated. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said: “Viewed against current trends, primary health care looks more and more like a smart way to get health development back on track.” She added: “We are, in effect, encouraging countries to go back to the basics.” More than 100 million people are pushed below the poverty line each year because they cannot afford healthcare.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - c

3 - b

4 - a

5 - c

6 - d

7 - b

8 - a

9 - b

10 -c

11 - a

12 - d

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