In the past few decades, nations all over the world have strived to eradicate preventable illnesses to achieve a healthy population. The Healthy People 2020 is one of the forces that drive countries to embrace the fight against such illnesses. The mentioned initiative requires countries to develop strategies aimed at eradicating communicable diseases by the year 2020 (Brown et al., 2014).
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However, although most countries around the globe have made major strides towards achieving zero illnesses, communicable diseases continue to derail the achievement of this goal. This paper explores the initiatives that are in place in Miami, Florida, which are directed towards eradicating communicable illnesses. To achieve the stated goal, the paper explores the measures that the Florida Department of Health in Miami has put in place to fight Leptospirosis, Rabies, and Tuberculosis. The listed three illnesses were earlier among the most prevalent ones in Miami. Today, they have been partially contained.
Impact of the Three Communicable Illnesses on My Community
One of the key effects of Leptospirosis, Rabies, and Tuberculosis on the Miami population is that the diseases consume a large share of the county’s healthcare budget to the extent of undermining development in the county. The revenues of a country or a county are allocated on the criticality of the expenditure whereby the most important activities or projects are prioritized. The health of the people of Miami is important relative to any other project, implying that the health sector is assigned revenues first. In the event that the cost of health goes up, only a small amount of revenues is left for development.
Additionally, when communicable diseases consume a large percent of the country’s revenues, there is little to spend on controlling other illnesses. Other than Leptospirosis, Rabies, and Tuberculosis, the residents of Miami are also faced by other epidemics such as HIV, malaria, and diabetes, among other chronic illnesses (Florida Department of Health, 2015). Therefore, the devotion of a large healthcare budget to fighting communicable illnesses limits the ability of the county to fight other illnesses in addition to undermining development and combating other illnesses, the communicable illnesses described in this paper also present health issues on the affected individuals in Miami. Low body immunity predisposes the affected person to the risk of contracting other illnesses. Besides, some of the communicable illnesses, for instance, TB, can cause death if not treated promptly.
Identifying the Illnesses
The identification of communicable illnesses in Miami followed the screening of the residence. The decision to scrutinize the population against the communicable diseases followed the alarm raised by the World Health Organization (WHO) about their existence and their negative impact on the health of the affected patients. The test for tuberculosis was especially prioritized, owing to its connection with HIV/AIDs.
According to the WHO, people suffering from HIV were at a higher risk of contracting TB relative to those who did not suffer from the deadly illness. Consequently, all patients who visited public hospitals in Miami, especially those who tested positive for the HIV virus, were also scrutinized for TB. Additionally, people in the county were trained and encouraged to take TB tests. Given that the WHO had outlined the symptoms of the illness, it was easy for the county health officials to identify the illnesses on the patients.
The public and the private hospitals heavily relied on the symptoms of each illness to determine whether to test an individual for Leptospirosis, Rabies, and Tuberculosis or not. Patients who exhibited persistent coughing, coughing blood, torso soreness, emaciation, and fever, would be tested for TB. Those who exhibited other symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, agitation, and hyperactivity would be tested for rabies (Farrar et al., 2013). Lastly, patients who exhibited fever, severe, repeated headaches, nausea, vomiting, and muscle pain would be tested for Leptospirosis.
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The Plan of Action to Contain the Diseases Based on Healthy People 2020
The Healthy People 2020 is an initiative that was launched by the US government in 2010. It outlines the measures and policies to be employed to achieve a healthy nation that is free of preventable illnesses by 2020. The initiative is based on the following priorities (Brown et al., 2014):
- Identifying countrywide health enhancement priorities
- Raising public understanding concerning the determinants of health, diseases, and disability, including opportunities that pave way to community progress
- Providing quantifiable goals applicable at the national, state, and local levels
- Engaging multiple sectors to take actions to strengthen policies and improve practices that are driven by the best available evidence and knowledge
- Identifying critical research, evaluation, and data collection needs
In line with the highlighted goals, the Miami-Dade County Health Department (MDCHD) ensures that the residents of Miami are protected against communicable diseases. This goal is achieved by conducting regular checkups on the residents to detect cases of Leptospirosis, Rabies, and Tuberculosis (Florida Department of Health, 2015). The public and private hospitals in the region are required to conduct tests on their patients and provide information about the illnesses to the relevant public health departments. Such information is used as the basis for formulating the healthcare policies in the county. Specifically, the MDCHD insists on preventative measures, as opposed to curative ones, to fight the illnesses in their entirety. Immunization is administered on people who are at a high risk of contracting the illnesses to keep them safe (Healthy People 2020, 2017).
The county has also established a Refugee Health Program (RHP), which oversees the health of refugees who arrive in there every year. It is important to note that Miami hosts major attraction sites in the US. It receives millions of tourists annually, a situation that predisposes its residents to the risk of contracting communicable illnesses. The RHP scrutinizes the health records of each arriving refugee to ensure that those who suffer from communicable illnesses are detected and treated promptly. In addition to reviewing the medical records, the department also houses the refugees while at the same time offering proper sanitation facilities to them. Cleanliness, which is central to combating communicable illnesses, underscores the need to provide the refugees with the right sanitation equipment (Farrar et al., 2013). The lack of proper sanitation and basic washing items may predispose the group to a high risk of contracting communicable diseases.
Leptospirosis, Rabies, and Tuberculosis were once the most prevalent illnesses in Miami apparently due to the lack of proper measures to control them. However, the prevalence of the illnesses in the county has drastically reduced following the development of several programs aimed at arresting the diseases. Before the programs were developed, the illnesses would consume a huge amount of the county’s health budget. The high cost of maintaining the illnesses was largely attributed to their speedy spreading and the complications they caused on patients.
This situation fueled the need to develop preventative measures, as opposed to curative ones. Today, in collaboration with the public and private hospitals, the MDCHD conducts periodic surveillance on the residents to determine the people at risk of contracting the specified diseases. It offers the necessary treatment in a timely manner. Besides, through RHP, the county health department scrutinizes the medical records of all incoming refugees to avert the spread of the said illnesses.
Brown, M. L., Klabunde, C. N., Cronin, K. A., White, M. C., Richardson, L. C., & McNeel, T. S. (2014). Peer reviewed: Challenges in meeting Healthy People 2020 objectives for cancer-related preventive services, national health interview survey, 2008 and 2010. Preventing Chronic Disease, 11(1), 29-30.
Farrar, J., Hotez, P., Junghanss, T., Kang, G., Lalloo, D., & White, N. J. (2013). Manson’s tropical diseases. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Florida Department of Health. (2015). Epidemiology, disease control and immunization services.
Healthy People 2020. (2017). Immunization and infectious diseases.