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National prevention effort
Exploring which of the nation’s services and departments can effect and maintain a National Prevention Effort for health. Strategies they can employ to support each other and maximize the impact and where money can be best allocated to ensure this
In general terms a ‘National Prevention Effort’ is exactly what the term describes. It is an effort by government departments, major industry and national organizations to exact change in the health of the nation. This may prove to be a more complicated process than that straightforward explanation belies. As with all projects, the larger the scale and the more people a program needs to impact, the greater the need for planning and outcome support. To change the habits and/or thought processes of one person may seem an easy task. To change the perception of a nation might seem daunting, even impossible. One way to be successful is to target communities at grass root level, another is to change the laws affecting the problem areas, yet another is for the larger bodies to lead by example.
A National Prevention Effort needs to be effective in all these areas. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes this and implements it in their programs.
“CDC is committed to achieving true improvements in people’s lives by accelerating health impact and reducing health disparities.” (Goals, 2008)
Departments, Industries and Organizations
The nation’s health encompasses a very wide array of topics. To take on each one separately would be an expensive and likely ineffective endeavor. Major government departments can provide an umbrella effect of one strategy supporting different entities who then apply their own methods to given areas. This is then bought to the community in ways that may be obvious, and also via less overt means. The matter of public health works at a community level rather than with the individual. “Public health is concerned with disease and early death as they occur in populations,” they seek a collective approach prevent the onset of disease which may bring about death. (Company, 1994)
It might be argued that disease does not encompass all reasons for early death. A freak accident for instance, but the majority of incidences can be traced back a common cause whereby a prevention program may have altered the outcome. E.g. a person has no control over a stranger murdering them, but the offender may have benefited from some type of preventative care in mental health or drug addiction, both major diseases across the nation.
How Can Money Be Best Spent
Throwing money at a problem on a grass roots level does not usually work to solve a problem. It is a quick fix and ineffective in the long term. A grant to each individual for the purpose of changing their lifestyle would not mean the money was spent on that purpose.
The nation relies on government money to support national prevention methods, and see adequate support systems are available. It appears the strategy may need to change somewhat. Hospitals are still crowded, some people simply cannot afford proper care, and education in low socio-economic areas is slow in some cases. “Nearly One in Five Americans Say They Can’t Afford Needed Health Care.” (Office, 2007)
So awarding copious amounts of money to a government department does not guarantee that people at entry level get the care they are entitled to as a basic human right. This is where national prevention programs are important. Getting organizations to work with each other rather than against is a key factor. It should not be a competition between substance abuse getting more consideration than sexually transmitted diseases. It makes sense a person giving sexual acts to support their drug addiction is more likely to contract an STD. A national prevention scheme must address the cascading effect.
Which Programs and Services Should be Included
All major departments, services and organizations can play a part in a National Prevention Health Scheme. Here are the front runners in giving out finances, listed in order of importance according to my opinion.
The Department of Health, The Department of Education, and Department of Treasury
These three run an equal first in importance.
· Treasury, because the importance of government money in these areas must be realized and accounted for at an increasing rate.
· Education, because this is the best way to bring about change of the community as a majority. Both with youth and parents.
· Health, because there is a direct impact on health services. The system is overcrowded. If there is no further money to be allocated to accommodate patients, then preventing as many incidences as possible is a key factor.
The Department of Agriculture, The Department of Housing, Homeland Security
· Agriculture because this directly affect the food of the nation. Availability of quality fresh foods at a reasonable price affects the health of the nation.
· Housing, because everyone deserves a decent home, The nations homeless are a large risk group for early death.
· Homeland Security, because disease from other countries via terrorist warfare, foreign food disease, pests and illegal aliens all can have a devastating effect on the health of the nation.
Every single state organization has a place and responsibility in a National Prevention Program for health. I cannot choose one that is more important than the other as each need to support the other to ever truly get a national change to culture.
· Alcoholism and Substance abuse
· Children and Family services
· Council on health and fitness
· Energy and natural resources
· Pollution control board
· Public health
· Rehabilitation services
· Veterans affairs
The organizations and departments, and everybody working in them must understand it is not a them against us scenario. It’s the image of public health that needs to change, thinking that because you work on mental disease so infant mortality is not your problem is not conducive to problems getting solved. (Turnock, 2007)
But I do believe there is a basic area in which every department and organization should focus to help stem much of the early death in society. Self worth is an area that must improve if the nation is ever to combat the growing numbers of disease and early death. The better people feel about themselves the more they achieve and the more likely they are to take care of themselves.
There will presumably always be problems with the health system. Education is a key factor. Not just of our youth, but for everyone. This society of convenience we live in is killing us. We are indeed our own worst enemy when it comes being more active, growing and cooking fresh foods, taking more time out to do things we enjoy.
People want everything now, and so they get it on credit and spend the rest of the time working long hours to keep up payments. Plus society tends to just see what is around us rather than those who are in need. Money may not always help at the grass roots level but a kind word or some assistance and understanding from another can change an out look on life.
A holistic approach is surely the only way National Prevention can ever improve the health of the nation.
Company, D. P. (1994). Prevention Primer: An Encyclopedia of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Prevention Terms. Darby, Pennsylvania: DIANE Publishing Company.
Goals. (2008, october). Retrieved October 16, 2008, from Web site for The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/
Office, C. N. (2007, December 3). NCHS-2007 Press release–Nearly One In Five Can’t Afford To Get Necessary Health Care. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from Website for The National Center for Health Statistics: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/Default.htm
Turnock, B. J. (2007). Essentials of Public Health. Sudbury, MA: Jones ; Bartlett Publishers.