Health Impact Assessment for Policy-Making

2901 words (12 pages) Essay

16th Oct 2017 Health Reference this

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1. Introduction

Indeed, a lot of changes happened particularly on how the people deal on health issues. In the past, medical concerns are not the main concern of the society. However, in the 21st century, due to some factors that affect the health of individuals, diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension are the major problems of the population. Because of these, responsibility for health plays a major role in national and international healthcare policy. The government implemented some strategies to address the health concerns of the society. For instance, the governing bodies increased the healthcare budget because of the mushrooming health problems. However, some people argue that prevention is better than cure and they contest that the government must spend more of their financial budget on activities that promote health and prevent illness.

Effective preventive healthcare plays an important part in preventing disease and gives the people the best chance for a healthier life (Australian National Preventive Health Agency,2013). It also helps to improve the performance of our public health service. Thus, greater attention should be paid to strategies of promoting health.

Health promotion goes beyond health care. It puts health on the agenda of policy makers in all sectors and at all levels, directing them to be aware of the health consequences of their decisions and to accept their responsibilities for health. The responsibility for ensuring the right to health for all lies not only with states and their obligations to their own people, but also with the international community.

The case study depicts the responsibility for health in different aspects and it appraises the contemporary issues in healthcare and their impact on national and international healthcare policy. In addition, it also emphasizes the justifications for policy intervention solutions on contemporary issues in the international context.

This report may help the individuals and the society on how to face healthcare issues. It will be a great success for the nation if healthcare issues will be addressed.

2. Evaluate the impact the contemporary issue discussed in your case study would have on national and international healthcare policy.

As discussed in the case study, the major source of health problem comes from unhealthy lifestyle of individuals such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits. How can the society decrease or eliminate these problems? The governing bodies implemented some strategies in order to combat the health concerns of the society. They plan to improve some policies, both in national and international context. For instance, they give emphasis on strategies of health promotion because the costs for preventive programs are much cheaper than activities that help treating the actual health problems.

States hold the primary responsibility to fund and ensure all the essential goods and services under the right to health (World Health Organization, 2014). This may include investing enough resources on health promotion. Health promotion strategies include mass campaigns and people awareness programmes. These activities more often than not can be seen in the school or community where the educators impart the significance of maintaining good health. Through health promotion, the people may realize the importance of having a healthy lifestyle and achieve the optimum health and well-being. As a result, the public can be more active by exercising regularly and playing some sports. Furthermore, they can practice good eating habits and stop smoking to prevent illness.

Truly, responsibility for health should be a collaborative effort among individuals and the societies in which they live. As an effect, both can benefit from one another. One good example is the government assistance for the public on how to avoid diseases. Both of them can benefit if the people abide the rules by the law makers. If practiced by the populace, the government can save the resources that were not used for medical treatment for instance. The extra funds then can be directed to other projects which can give additional benefits to the people in general.

The effects of medical concerns should be carefully considered by the people, especially the policy makers, so they can amend some policies to effectively improve the health status of the public.

In the case study, the health problems would have a great impact on international and national healthcare policy. Existing poor health condition may serve as an eye-opener to the community. Because of the untoward effects of unhealthy way of living such as , they take precautions and some steps to practice a healthy lifestyle in order to alleviate them.

National and international healthcare policy can be upgraded using the ideas that can be harnessed to this case study. They may execute effective strategies to promote health and prevent from getting sick. For example, unhealthy habits such as cigarette smoking, excessive use of alcohol and other harmful substances should be restricted or banned in the community by implementing strict laws. Although there are existing policy to address these problems, the policy maker may improvise the law. Punishments and fines may be given to individuals who violate the law. For instance, individuals who are caught smoking in non-smoking area will be jailed for a day and they are required to attend a community service for 1 week.

On the whole, national and global health governance is essential because states will not accept national and international norms without genuine partnerships, equitable burden sharing and efficient programmes that improve health outcomes. Yet, political, legal and economic challenges impede effective governance. Countries face serious problems of fragmentation, duplication, and even confusion, among the deluge of global health actors and initiatives. Health ministries often lack basic knowledge of, and control over, foreign-supported programmes. The public needs a system of governance that fosters effective collaborative effort and coordinates initiatives to create synergies and avoid destructive competition.

3. Discuss and critically analyse the rationale or justifications for putting into place each of the below listed types of policy intervention solutions globally to address the contemporary health issue highlighted in your chosen case study:

3.1. Education and training

As defined by many resources, education is an essential human virtue. Man becomes ‘man’ through education. He is what education makes him. It has been rightly said that without education, a person is a splendid slave, reasoning savage. Education is necessary for society. Education fashions and models man for society. Man cannot be conceived merely in terms of his biological existence. Education brings into focus the social aspect of man. Education signifies man’s supreme position in society. Education is an essential basis of good life. A man becomes a human being in the real sense when he is transformed from primarily an animal being into a human being. In short, education is an essential concomitant of all human societies. Through education, the people can acquire knowledge and wisdom about everything in life. The people can solve problems successfully because they can apply the knowledge they have gained in order to solve their concerns. Meanwhile, training, is the process by which someone is taught the skills that are needed for an art, profession, or job. Training is beneficial for the new staff particularly because it makes them proficient and more competent in their area of work. Developing competence has become a crucial issue for establishing a smart workforce that can achieve a competitive success. A major factor or function of Human Resource Management that differentiates it from personnel management is training and development. Training can be defined as a planned process by which people acquire the capabilities and competencies to aid in the overall achievement of the organisations goals and objectives. Training can be seen from the very entrance into the organisation, for example, orientation where the employee is taught the organisation’s culture. It continues into the probation period, where employees gain sufficient skills for the position held and can also be seen throughout the duration of employment. Thus, training act as a remedy to change within an organisation. There is a strong link between training and learning, both foster a permanent change in behaviour according to the behaviourist approach and thereby lead the movement toward a learning organisation..

Both education and training are essential in order to address the contemporary issue stressed in the case study. By educating the public, the people can become aware of what is happening around them. Furthermore, they can improve their way of living because of the wisdom and knowledge they have as part of the learning process. Through education, they can help promote health and prevent diseases. Stressing out the importance of preventing illness, for instance, can help the individuals achieve a quality of life. By making them aware of the cons of unhealthy habits, they can avoid being sick. For example, the person who is aware that eating foods high in cholesterol can make the person at risk for stroke or any cardiovascular diseases may stop taking such unhealthy foods. Training, on the other hand, is helpful to an individual in carrying out successfully a task. One example is by providing training to healthcare workers. Resources should be provided to maintain a high quality of training. Training can be hard if it is poorly funded because they usually require aids in order to demonstrate procedures. Another good example is in a healthcare community center, where a program can be conducted once a month. Before the healthcare workers perform their task, they are trained on how to deal the people with different personalities and how to deal the community as a whole. They give health teachings such as obesity. As mentioned in the case study, obesity is one the leading cause of forming other debilitating diseases, such as diabetes, cardiac diseases, and hypertension and thus, obesity should be avoided. By imparting information, like proper diet and exercise, this health problem can be prevented.

3.2.Tax benefits and payments to caregivers

Tax benefit rule is a judicially created doctrine seeking to repair some of the inflexibility inherent in the annual accounting system. According to this rule, if any loss or expense deducted in the previous year is recovered by the tax payer, the recovery must be included in the current year’s gross income to the extent that it was previously deducted. The tax benefit rule ensures that if a taxpayer takes a deduction attributable to a specific event, and the amount is recovered in a subsequent year, income tax consequences of the later event depend in some degree on the prior related tax treatment.

Tax benefits are indeed a great help to individuals who needs healthcare assistance. Nowadays, with the rising cost of medical supplies and procedures, tax benefits that will reduce the cost of health care expenses for example, is a great help especially to those people who are in dire need of financial assistance. From the tax, the government can successfully implement and carry out projects that can contribute to individual’s welfare. They may effectively plan and perform heath preventive programs because of the individual’s tax contribution and collaboration of the people.

Meanwhile, payments to caregivers are important. Since the healthcare workers are the front liners in providing care for the people who need assistance, they should be given sufficient incomes. Giving them a salary which help them survive from day to day living and help them save for their future use help them provide a quality care for people who needs their help. Instead of working double shifts to earn more money for their needs, they may only work a single shift. Their extra time can be allotted for their family and for themselves to rest. Because of this, they can be relieved from stress and enjoy their day offs. This can yield a good result because a well-rested individual can give and provide a quality care for their patients.

3.3. Respite care

As defined by the Ministry of Health (2014), respite service should provide a safe, enjoyable environment with staff able to support the disabled person to participate in their community.

Respite care is generally short-term and intermittent, available in community settings and in rest homes, and part of the support network available to a person and their carers.

This is very important since individuals who provide care experience stress. This may be in the form of emotional, financial or physical burden. With stress, an individual who provides care can cause negligence or abuse to the patient. To avoid this, they should also have a break or a day off. During their break or day off, somebody would temporarily relieve them of their duty. This is a great help to the care givers, since they can reduce or eliminate the stress that builds inside them. And with this, as they return to duty fully recharged, they can provide and maintain a quality care for their patients.

3.4. Business regulations combining work and care giving

Each year, there are increasing number of people who needs assistance and care to maintain their well-being. Because of this plight, the demand for care givers is also escalating. Thus, a lot of health care centers are being made, either public or private, to accommodate the increasing number of individuals who need assistance. Nowadays, rest homes are common in some countries and there should be regulations that must be maintained in order to provide a quality care and assistance for the patients. A good example is, providing the right number of staff to the number patients available in the care homes. There should be enough staff to attend the needs of the patients in order to render a good quality care, like assisting a disabled person to transfer to a chair. Big patients need two or more staff to accomplish the task such as showering them and doing cares in order to avoid injuries to patients and also to caregivers. For health and social care staff to work together, they must be able to share information about a person’s assessments, treatment and care.

One of the most important legal right one have as a caregiver is about his employment. The unpredictable nature of caregiving, and the time that it takes to provide care, often make it difficult to continue working on a normal schedule. In fact, the Department of Labor’s latest investigation found that employee complaints with respect to balancing career and family often occur because an employer refuses to reinstate an employee after an extended leave. Generally, these complaints can be resolved fairly easily, although to date, 16 legal actions have been taken against employers for violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

All in all, in order to attend the needs of the patient, business regulations should be fair and just to the employees and consumers.

4. Conclusion

This paper makes the claim that a key activity required to promote healthy policy-making at the local level is health impact assessment. Highly participatory local health impact assessment can be used to identify negative health impacts that call for policy responses, and to identify and encourage practices and policies that promote health. Socially responsible decision-making for improved equity-in-health is stimulated by community-level health impact assessment because it is a practical tool to help communities come to grips with local conditions that need changing if better health for all is to be realized. Even with the advancement of knowledge on medicines, society still faces the burden on health related issues. Health issues should be attended immediately due to the fact that not only the individual who suffers the sting of the disease but there love ones are also affected. Health prevention strategies should be promoted and initiated in every community. Aside from the fact that it is more cost-effective than curing the actual diseases, it can also benefit the public by practicing healthy lifestyle. Health promotion is indeed significant in order to achieve the optimum of health and well-being. Health issues can affect everyone, it can cause physical, emotional and financial burden. It is a miserable situation in which everyone involved to the individual especially the family members is being pulled in. Health issues then affects the economy of a nation. And if not properly attended, it may cripple the nation’s wealth. In addition, through collaborative effort of the individual and society, the health issues can be minimized or avoided through effective implementation of health promotion strategies, community projects and programmes by the government, community and the individuals.

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