Many countries like the U.S. have failed in providing equal opportunities in accessing healthcare. In Part I of the assignment, it was noted that the Southside Community in Chicago is one of the most underserved communities in the U.S. with over 800, 000 constituents suffering from easily preventable ailments. As a way of helping this community, the Urban Health Initiative (UHI) has introduced a convenient program known as the Southside Healthcare Collaborative (SSHC), which strives to contain chronic health pandemics. Considering the success of SSHC (as discussed in Part I), one of the main strategies that can be used to promote healthcare access is to establish more free community-based centers with programs that center on education and healthy living styles as well as employing health providers who are willing to work in low-income communities for lucrative incentives. This paper discusses a program that will help in promoting health and disease prevention in the community.
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Summary of Findings from Part I
Despite healthcare access being a fundamental right, most countries have failed to ensure that their citizens have equal opportunities in accessing healthcare. The U.S. is a victim of this disparity. Unfortunately, most people who are in these underserved areas suffer from preventable ailments. Poverty is one of the factors that impede access to healthcare. Poor individuals are normally reluctant in terms of seeking medical attention for they only do so when the situation exacerbates, which is more expensive than preventive care. The Southside community of Chicago that hosts about one million residents is one of most underserved communities in the U.S. Over 800,000 constituents suffer from preventable diseases such as diabetes, chronic lung diseases, hypertension, and asthma (Jacobsen, 2008).
Initiatives by school nurses to cooperate with community-based health centers to offer relevant health services have had little effect on minimizing the prevalence of health problems in the community. Since most children in the Southside community come from poor backgrounds, they apply for Medicaid, which very few hospitals accept. However, a program initiated by the UHI has affirmed that using primary and secondary preventive healthcare measures can reduce the health problems. The SSHC helps in connecting patients and hospitals as a means of developing a perpetual partnership, which emphasizes on prevention. Considering the success of SSHC and the ongoing pandemic, the most pertinent strategy is to design a community-based program that centers on education and healthy living lifestyles.
Considering the fact that most health problems in South Side exist mainly due to lifestyle diseases, the program will focus on how to minimize these cases. This program will be known as Southside Lifestyle Diseases Prevention Program (SLDPP) and it will target the young population of Southside community. The goal of this program is to create a society with a healthy environment with reduced cases of chronic diseases (Merzel & D’Afflittl, 2003).
The program will encourage the establishment of the finest principles that can be used in educating citizens about lifestyle diseases like hypertension, cancer, and asthma. The program also strives to expand the awareness and information that the residents have concerning lifestyle and preventive diseases. It also aspires to help the public to develop methods that they can employ to self-manage their ailments. In a long-term basis, the program intends to introduce and sustain a surveillance system within the community, which will help medical practitioners to use data to trace the sequences associated with the dominance and risks of lifestyle ailments (Jacobsen, 2008).
The dissemination of health information will be achieved using three channels, viz. the Internet, schools, and health centers. The Internet provides a cheap and convenient means of sharing information. A website that will exemplify all the activities of SLDPP will be launched. The website will seek to share information and policies that can help in promoting the adoption of best practices that can be used in managing chronic diseases. In schools, the program will collaborate with school authorities to introduce nutrition and healthy lifestyle education. These courses will create awareness among students on how they can contain the diseases. Health centers will also be encouraged to inform their patients about science-oriented practices to promote positive health outcomes. Considering the resources and labor force needed for this program, a total of $2.5 million dollars in a span of five years must be consolidated (Parekh, 2011).
The implementation will be divided into two phases: interim and long-term. These two phases will be implemented simultaneously, but through disparate channels. Although the website avail general information about the program, it will put more emphasis on informing the public about temporary strategies. The information disseminated to schools will focus on long-term objectives because re-printing of booklets may be expensive if done frequently. However, tutors will be requested to teach students personal skills that they use in managing victims of lifestyle ailments (Jacobsen, 2008). Tentatively, once the students acquire adequate information, they can easily spread it to their guardians and the society. Health centers will collaborate with the relevant authorities to implement the objectives of the program successfully. The process of developing a surveillance system will involve drafting public health policy as well as hiring qualified personnel to oversee the establishment of a quality and modern system. The process may be complex, but it will succeed with proper supervision (Merzel & D’Afflittl, 2003).
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However, the implementation will undoubtedly face various challenges. One of the major barriers will be insufficient funds. Although the program requires about $2.5 million for successful completion, getting the entire amount may be a challenge. The current global financial crisis may provoke the government to be reluctant in releasing funds to support the initiative. Moreover, the residents of the Southside community are poor; hence, they can barely contribute the total amount. Nonetheless, this aspect should not derail the program and to avoid this problem, the program may be divided into five phases, whereby a single phase is completed in a single year (Sanders et al., 2004). This approach will cut down the cost to $500,000 annually, which is easier to raise. The program will also seek to hire volunteers to reduce the human resource challenge.
Another major problem will be attaining cooperation with teachers. Since the education program will introduce a new course in schools, some tutors may be unwilling to have an added responsibility of teaching without receiving any incentives. Furthermore, some teachers may be inexperienced in teaching health issues and may thus end up inculcating students with erroneous information. Therefore, to counter this challenge, occasional seminars will be held to update tutors on issues pertaining to preventive diseases.
The evaluation of the success or failure of the program after five years of implementation will revolve around three main questions, viz. its convenience, relevance, and necessity. At the end of the implementation, the population that has benefitted from the program out of the originally targeted population will be noted. The negative and positive factors that affected the implementation will be evaluated (Reagan & Brooki-Fisher, 2002). The acceptance of the program among the disparate communities will also be assessed. Moreover, the participants (resident, volunteers, teachers, and physicians) will also be evaluated to check their satisfaction with the program. The evaluation will also involve the assessment of the impacts and outcomes, for instance, if the initiative has succeeded in the reduction of preventable ailments. These evaluations will help in determining the necessity of progressing with the program and any remedies that should be executed.
Jacobsen, K. H. (2008). Introduction to global health. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Merzel, C., & D’Afflittl, J. (2003). Reconsidering Community-Based Health Promotion: Promise, Performance, and Potential. American Journal of Public Health, 93(4), 557-574.
Parekh, K. (2011). Managing Multiple Chronic Conditions: A Strategic Framework for Improving Health Outcomes and Quality of Life. Public Health Reports, 126(4), 460-471.
Reagan, A., & Brookins-Fisher, J. (2002). Community health in the 21st century (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Benjamin Cummings.
Sanders, C., Aycock, N., Samuel-Hodge, C., Garcia, B., Kelsey, K., Garner, S., & Ammerman, A. (2004). Extending the reach of public health nutrition: training community practitioners in multilevel approaches. Journal of Women’s Health, 13(5), 589-97.