My vulnerable populations are the immigrants and the refugees. These are groups of people who are displaced from their community, region and country and have settled in a new place. Mostly, they are displayed as a result of the war, floods, famine and community disputes. They compose of people of different ages, gender, ethnic and races (Stanhope, Turner & Riley, 2008). The reason as to why they need assistance is because they are faced with several challenges, such as inadequate food, poor housing, poor sanitation and hygiene, disease outbreaks, and insecurity. Therefore, they depend on the support from well-wishers to cater for their needs. The refugees and immigrants face high disease burden due to their poor living conditions, therefore, there is a need for a healthcare program to address the health conditions.
The statistics released by the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees shows that in 2015 there were 69,933 of refugees and immigrants in America. It was more compared to 2013, when the number of these vulnerable populations was 25,199 (Zong & Batalova, 2015). The UNHRC report showed that there were 59.5 million of refugees and immigrants across the world in 2015. Most of these people are displaced from their countries during disputes and war in their countries. The county department in charge of refugees in America reports that the number of refugees and immigrants is expected to rise by the end of 2016.
Some of the health needs of the vulnerable populations include a high burden of communicable diseases. Apart from that, there is an outbreak of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and malaria due to poor hygiene and sanitation. These persons also suffer stress, depression and trauma from their past exposure, especially those who flew from war zone areas. The poor housing also harbors insects and rodents that cause diseases such as trachoma, conjunctivitis, filariasis among others. Therefore, to meet the health needs of these populations, there is the need for health programs. The programs include health education and promotion services, preventive and the curative services. Most of the health problems can be treated and prevented where an effective health program is set up (Garrett, 2006).
The health care program will provide services ranging from health promotion and health prevention to education. Health promotion focuses on changing health behaviors of the population through health education and advocacy. In the health promotion services, there will be health educators to instruct on health messages to the populations as well as health campaign programs. These messages will aim at promoting healthy lifestyle and healthy habits. The prevention care focuses on early detection of disease as well as on reducing progression of the disease. The preventive services are screening, immunization and giving treated mosquitoes to pregnant mothers. Some of the screenings are mammography, screening for prostate cancer and other diseases. The screening will help the care providers to identify early onset of a disease and treat it before it progresses. The screening will be free of charge, and this is to encourage people to come for these services (Committee on Oral Health Access to Services, 2011). Again, there will be vaccination and immunization to young children. However, not only the young children but also the adults will receive vaccination to protect them from other diseases. Also, the pregnant women will be given free treated mosquito nets to protect them from malaria. The treated mosquito nets will serve to protect the spread of malaria especially to young babies and pregnant mothers. All the preventive services will minimize the chances of persons to contact with diseases. Apart from that, there will be long-term services such as setting rehabilitative services. The rehabs will provide long services to patients with mental disorders, stress, depression, and drug and substance users.
Apart from that, there will be an educational program on the importance of maintaining proper hygiene. The program lies under preventive services. Among the education will be the importance of hand washing and also the hand washing techniques. Through this, the population will embrace proper hygiene and curb the spread of diseases. Another service included in the program is the curative service. It includes treating of all conditions once they are diagnosed. Therefore, there will be a laboratory service set up to facilitate proper diagnosis. Once one is tested, the service provider will provide the appropriate treatment (Committee on Oral Health Access to Services, 2011). In addition, there will be a treatment for the mental health illness. The mental health problems are common among the vulnerable populations as a result of several factors. The aim of the program is to ensure the vulnerable persons get quality, efficient and affordable services.
During migration, refugees and immigrants settle in a new place and tend to meet persons with different cultural diversities, races, different languages, and with different beliefs, values, and practices. Since they have no choice of where to live, they find themselves interacting together, although their circumstances force them. Bearing that they have different cultures and practices, it influences their health seeking behaviors. First, they are from different cultures and share different beliefs. Some people believe that they should seek medical treatment whenever faced with any health condition. Therefore, this will drive them to ask for both the preventive and the curative health care services. Despite the many hindrances on seeking health care such as lack of finances to pay for health services, their cultural beliefs push them to seek for care (Stanhope, Turner & Riley, 2008).
While living together with people of different races, there tend to emerge social isolation. Whereby, some races who feel to be superior to others tend to isolate others. Once a person is isolated they feel detached from the society or the community they live in. As a result of social isolation, they suffer stress and other mental problems. Therefore, this creates the need to seek health care in the community program. They might seek a counselor or a mental health therapist to help them overcome their problems. Such patients will benefit from the program as they will be helped to walk through the challenge easily (Bhugra & Becker, 2005). Apart from social isolation, most people suffer from the loss of their loved ones or the break of the social ties. The experiences put these populations in distress and pain and it takes some time to recover or forget. Therefore, the program will help them to heal from the painful past experiences.
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Most of the places where immigrants and refugees live in are always overcrowded as well as inadequate housing. Therefore, during the interaction, they tend to spread a lot of diseases such as tuberculosis, which is common in overcrowded places and also typhoid found where hygiene is inadequate. These health conditions will push them to seek for health care. For example, with tuberculosis, the population will benefit from the program as they will get a vaccination against the disease. Besides, they will acquire education on how to protect themselves from these conditions, especially while living in the congested area. The aim of setting these programs is to ensure that they address all the health aspects of the population. It is put in a way that if they do not benefit in health promotion, they can benefit from preventive or the curative services.
The social construction is another aspect that affects these vulnerable populations. Whereby, these groups have social class. There are social classes that define people in the society into three classes, these are the wealthy, middle class and the poor. Although all of them are vulnerable groups, some of them are better off than others while some are the poorest. Some of the poorest people in the society where they live may not be able to afford to pay for health services offered by other agencies and therefore, they tend to afford health care services. By setting up the health program which provides some free services, it will benefit the people of low social class. As per the social and the cultural differences experienced by the vulnerable populations, it creates the need for health services (Bhugra & Becker, 2005). Therefore, the community program proposed will help to solve their challenges. It will be of importance especially to those people who cannot afford health care in other expensive places.
The proposed program can come up with methods or ways to overcome the social and cultural differences among the vulnerable refugees and immigrants. One of the ways is to address the issue of the language barrier (Bhugra & Becker, 2005). As people come together, they are from different ethnic and races and therefore, communication becomes a problem. Some may even fail to seek health care just because they feel that they cannot communicate with the care provider effectively. Therefore, the proposed program should get a neutral language that is understood by all the people around. This is a language that is common and can be understood by most people. Besides, there are the issues of social isolation because some people are isolated from others. A campaign should help to enlighten people on the importance of togetherness. All people should understand that they are vulnerable and therefore, they should care for each other.
However, there can be a rehabilitation centre to help those who have suffered mental problems and social isolation. When an individual is isolated from the other, they feel unwanted and may end up suffering from stress or depression. By setting the rehabilitation centre where there are counselors and therapists, it will help the patients with stress, depression, and social alienation to recover from their experience. These rehabs will serve as a recovery center to clients with mental problems that result from cultural differences and social norms. There is another way to offer purely free health services to people from the low social class. The program should seek to identify those individuals who are penniless from the rest of the population and give them free services. Doing so will make them feel appreciated in the community. When one is living in a community where all people believe they are poor, and they cannot afford anything, they feel unwanted (Bhugra & Becker, 2005). Therefore, offering them the free services will give them a sense of belonging.
By the fact that these populations are vulnerable and of low class, their experience in health care services is wanting. They tend to face challenges in seeking the services. In most cases, there are no health care facilities in the area or the only available ones are very expensive to afford. Therefore, some may not even seek the health care. While others may try to get services, these facilities are not accessible and so there is a need for more health services among these populations. However, some services may not be of high quality; the persons may get the wrong diagnosis or may get the diagnosis but may lack money to pay for medications.
A single body may not work out all the problems faced by the vulnerable populations. Therefore, there is a need to partner with other agencies to help address all the health needs and the high burden of disease. One of the most relevant agencies to work with is the public health department. There are many public health issues affecting the community ranging from hygiene, sanitation, and poor living conditions. Therefore, the public health agency will work on preventive measures among the populations. The public health department mostly focuses on the preventive services of the populations. Therefore, they will put measures to prevent these communities from contacting diseases. First, they will ensure that all children at the age of vaccination bracket get immunized, and they should not miss out any vaccine. They can launch the campaign where they can have a door to door visitation so that even those who cannot come in the health care will still get the vaccine. Also, the public health department will ensure that the refugees and immigrants get the supply of clean water and proper sanitation. The department will ensure that the community gets enough clean water to prevent them from disease outbreaks. Collaboration with the public health department will ensure that the community benefits to the greatest extent from the preventive and health promotion services.
Apart from that, the proposed program can also partner with a big facility which should act as a referral hospital. At times, the health program set may not treat all the conditions, especially the severe conditions. Therefore, there is a need to link with a larger facility so that in case there are patients who come and need more examination, they can get treated elsewhere. For example, if one needs radiology or ultrasound which are not present within they health program in place, we can refer them to get the treatment under our program. Therefore, being referred to our program, they will not be charged more compared to them seeking care without a referral. Doing so ensures that the community benefits within and out of the program.
For the success of any program, there is a need to have resources to facilitate its effectiveness to the vulnerable population. Of utmost importance is the state funding whereby, the government should fully fund all the health service for immigrants and refugees. The state should take the initiative to ensure that some funds are allocated to the programs dealing with health needs of refugees and immigrants. Besides, the federal funding should also be part of the donors to support these programs (Avery & Zabriskie-Timmerman, 2009). For example, the federal system of United States should aim at taking insurance cover for the vulnerable populations. The insurance cover will cover all the health services received. The example of an insurance cover by the state is the Medicare.
The other source of funding should be from a market-oriented funding. Whereby the community can start a business so that they can earn to help them take insurance cover as well as their small business will be used to 'shop' for health cover. Finally, these populations can come up with a community-based program so that the community set up a business that will earn income to pay for the health care. The community should empower the members to start a project that will help them to pay for health care (Avery & Zabriskie-Timmerman, 2009).
Some factors should be in place for getting funds. First, the proposal must be persuasive with a clear outline on how the vulnerable populations will benefit from it. It should address specific needs the program will focus on. Besides, the program should have a time frame that the program will take. The program should also indicate how donors will benefit from the initiated program. Finally, the budget must be reliable (Avery & Zabriskie-Timmerman, 2009).
In conclusion, the program should address all the health needs of the vulnerable population. The services offered are health promotion, preventive and curative services. Although there are social and cultural norms, the program should address them adequately. Besides, the program should have donors including, state government, the federal government, and a Non-Governmental Organization. Apart from that, the program needs to partner with other agencies like public health department and a referral agency to ensure the effectiveness of the program.