The road towards healthy equity is full of challenges that most communities, especially low-income ones, find hard to overcome. Some have to deal with uncontrollable factors such as lack of resources and ethnic or racial discrimination. As for others, they need to find solutions for wealth and income gaps, poor quality of medical services, and other different health disparities.
Since these health inequities can impact everyone, the key to overcoming them is through adaptive changes from individuals and healthcare organizations and the community itself. Is your community planning to correct its health disparities too? These strategies will be helpful for your mission.
Improve access to quality healthcare
One of the biggest problems for many families and individuals is access to quality healthcare. Some do not have access to primary healthcare physicians, while others don’t simply have the money for their medical exams and medications or to avail of health insurance. In addition, some live too far from health centers that they can’t possibly acquire the care they need.
If your community is facing these specific issues, improving public access to quality healthcare. You can propose to increase health screening services, reduce waiting time in emergency departments, and even offer remote appointments.
Plan better seminars and testing
Communities that don’t make an effort to promote health awareness can seriously struggle with achieving health equity. People should be knowledgeable and aware of the importance of quality healthcare, and your community’s job is to give them better service. Health seminars and medical testing are necessary to provide the people with their needs.
For instance, you can provide mobile health screenings to accommodate people who don’t have access to transportation. Or, if your community is specifically affected by certain diseases or conditions, you should focus on providing better treatment and testing. For example, you can introduce the use of cell proliferation and viability assays if you’re working towards the treatment of cancerous diseases or the development of anticancer drugs for your community.
Foster a positive community environment
Creating a positive community is another crucial part of health equity. These include homes, parks, workplaces, highways, roads, and even industrial areas. Some communities focus on providing preventive treatments and creating personalized care to boost physical and mental health. Others put more emphasis on keeping a cleaner environment to promote better lifestyles.
Aside from these, you can also build stronger community support and reduce the likelihood of various health conditions. In fact, studies found that conditions such as obesity, heart disease, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety are associated with the environment. Provide a positive and supportive community that people can turn to.
Encourage continued education
A child’s access to quality education is a vital determining factor for his or her future living conditions. For communities that house low-income families, well-paying and safe jobs are clearly needed. But to achieve that, you need to develop programs that can increase the number of individuals, in all age groups, who have access to high-quality education. Continued education can prevent the occurrence of several health conditions associated with living in a low-income community.
Focus on community’s living conditions
Poor living conditions are undeniably a big hindrance to achieving health equity in a community. Apart from limited access to healthcare, people in this situation are also struggling to get the food and education they need to survive. Researches also show that unsanitary or inadequate living conditions are also linked to the spread of diseases, threatening a person’s overall well-being. At the same time, overcrowded locations are also potential breeding grounds for infectious diseases.
To avoid your community members from worrying about their daily struggle with poverty, creating economic development networks is essential. You can start by building community centers, repairing damaged houses, and increasing job opportunities. In particular, you can plan and organize programs for high-quality childcare, career counseling, and employment programs.
Measure progress in reducing health disparities
Last but not least, do not forget to evaluate your progress in cutting off health disparities in your community. This is particularly important for determining what particular programs or actions are successful and which ones should be discontinued or improved. Taking time to measure the outcome indicators is also the key to boosting equitable opportunities for good health and checking in with the economic and social barriers.
Neglecting health disparities in your community cannot only cost you income instability or poor education access. They can create inequities that can hinder your people from achieving their best health. Eliminate the barriers to care and health, and provide positive opportunities for the members of your community.