Explain the importance of culturally appropriate health policies.
Explain how one can develop a policy so that it gets the support of the community.
Explain how you might engage the community when developing a policy.
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In a country as culturally diverse as the United States, sensitivity to the myriad ethnicities and religions to which millions of Americans belong is not just good business, but essential for the welfare of the public as a whole. The growing challenge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and emerging types of viruses, especially those that adversely affect the respiratory system, has made the issue of cultural sensitivity even more vital than in the past. Bacterial infections and viruses that break out among communities of recently-arrived ethnicities, for example, can not only threaten the lives of those communities, but the lives of thousands or hundreds of thousands of others, once the disease in question succeeds in breaking out of its initial incubatory neighborhood. Yet, the cultures that these communities represent may be impervious to the kind of public health campaigns that have been effective in the past. Some immigrants may be inherently suspicious of government-sponsored health care initiatives because their sole interaction with government in the countries from which they emigrated may have been tarnished by corruption and/or institutional incompetence.
Cultural sensitivity is not a luxury when the issue is public health. It is a necessity. That is why public health campaigns need to reflect the cultural diversity that exists within not just the United States, but much of the advanced world. Addressing that challenge must, and generally does, include appeals to the more educated elements within targeted communities. Such individuals will more likely understand the imperatives of reaching out to their communities and often prove helpful in shaping public health campaigns to appeal to the broader community. Individuals representing various ethnicities often enter the health care professions, anyway, and represent a vital asset in reaching out and administering to those ethnicities. Public service announcements delivered in languages unique to at-risk communities are also essential to reaching those most in danger of contracting and spreading communicable diseases. Advice on personal hygiene and the availability of health care, combined with the establishment of medical clinics in at-risk neighborhoods, are central to any public health campaign. An important step, however, as mentioned, is appealing to those within at-risk communities most likely to be receptive to such entreaties.
Another imperative involves the staffs of established health care facilities, who must be sensitized to the unique cultural idiosyncrasies of the communities those facilities serve. “Cultural-sensitivity training” has become something of a political lightening rod in some of the country, but such training is precisely what is required of those members of hospital and other medical care facilities staffs who are most likely to interact directly with individuals and families from newly-established communities. Admitting and initial care personnel, as well as attending physicians and nurses must be sensitive to the fact that some of their patients are from countries or regions where health care is either nonexistent, subpar, or estranged from the communities they ought to be serving. Globalization has involved the massive movement of tens of millions of people, many of whom have relocated to regions where their customs and traditions are viewed skeptically or ignored. Again, in an age when dangerous, easily transferable bacteria and viruses are spreading at an alarming rate among highly mobile populaces, no government can afford to ignore the cultural challenges presented by increasingly diverse communities.
Culturally appropriate health policies are very important. In order to provide adequate healthcare to different types of cultural backgrounds, the healthcare must try and stem from their beliefs for the best care. Some cultures only go by holistic medicine and therefore must be treated in such a manner. Certain cultures have specific rituals they must perform in order to become better from illness. An example is cultures who practice treatment by use of needing a Shaman to bless them. There are people who will require a Shaman to bless them before they feel they can receive further more westernized treatments. If health policies are not culturally appropriate some patients may be unsatisfied with their treatment or may never seek treatment if they think their beliefs will not be respected.
There are many different cultures that have a hard time finding health care as well because they don't know where to go. Policies should be implemented that not only will help to treat specific diseases that are more prevalent among other cultural backgrounds, but also should be accessible to those who need it.
A way to get the community to help is to make sure that you reach out to as many different cultures within that community. Communicating in their native languages would be very important. By contacting the community through a respectful manner of their culture, they can help by giving feedback as to what they wish for within the policy.
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