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PUBH643 Health Advocacy Question: Write an essay on the health advocacy strategy. Answer: Introduction The public debates and policy verdicts frequently fails to address the voices and prioritize the vulnerable population in healthcare. Advocacy plans can help in effectively changing the public opinion and policies at different levels to address the issue of vulnerable people (Lesperance, 2015). Further, the health care financer view advocacy to inflict a broad change. They utilize advocacy strategies to improve accessibility of health care, to mobilize and better use the available resources, reduce inequalities disparities, manage the rising incidence rates, and several other issues. One such vulnerable population with specialized health issues and needs is unemployed people. The 2004–05 National Health Survey conducted in Australia found that unemployed people visited the emergency departments more frequently as compared to the employed people. They also had more rates of GP consultation, dentist visits, etc. (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006). In this assignment a health advocacy plan is created to create positive change in meeting the health needs of the unemployed people. A previous intervention focused on improving the health of the unemployed people in Australia is discussed. Next, a detailed plan is laid down to implement the health advocacy strategy for health needs of unemployed people effectively. Lastly, the key findings of the assignment are presented in the conclusion. Previous Interventions/Advocacy Efforts In Unemployment  Several previous Australia-based interventions were focused on improving the health of unemployed people by approach of assessment, management and to identify referral within Primary Health Care facilities. A range of interventions were developed in the late 90s and early 2000s to implement effective strategies which can be utilized at PHC facilities to prevent, recognise and manage the health issues of unemployed people. Various strategies were used to achieve the goal. GPs awareness were raised regarding the health issues that occur in people who are unemployed. GPs were provided with local data regarding levels and nature of unemployment. GPs were further supported to act as referrers to employment and welfare services. Further, they were given clinical practice guidelines and standards on health issues of unemployed individuals and lastly, audit of practice was conducted and audit-based feedback was sought. Changes in management and referral through patient audit was done which revealed that this intervention was acceptable to the GPs, and increased their knowledge and confidence (Harris & Harris, 2009). Plan To Effectively Implement Health Advocacy Strategy Unemployed people usually do not have decent housing conditions or may be homeless. Further, due to lack of insufficient nutrition, mental stress and unhygienic living conditions frequently suffer from multiple complex health conditions. Still due to financial restraints and barriers, they are usually disengaged from PHC facilities and put a substantial load on the acute health system (Harris, Harris, & Shortus, 2010). There are various barriers which prevent the unemployed and homeless people to access primary care which can be personal as well as practical. The barriers include illness and poor health, physical accessibility to health services, challenge in making a contact with the services, medication security, and the expense of the health care. Apart from that the disparity in social status and fear of being judged can also result cause relationship barriers in getting access to primary care. After identification of the issue of health needs of unemployed people, it is essential to develop a strategy plan to effectively implement health advocacy. An integrated approach involved identification of several objectives to achieve the goal of improving the health situation of unemployed people. The objectives are providing a decent housing, continuity of health care, specified unemployment general practice, general practice outreach, and medical recovery centers. A sequence of steps needs to be followed in effective advocacy planning which will include building citizen power to pressurize power holders. The initial steps of planning include gathering the local community to define the current national or local health advocacy requirements for unemployed people. This step is based on spreading awareness among the community so that they could be motivated to make efforts in this direction. Next step will include identification, categorization and mapping of the relationships and impact of the stakeholder community involved in the health needs of the unemployed people (Gomm, Lincoln, Pikora, & Giles-Corti, 2006). Based on the stakeholder analysis and community gathering, the current goals and objectives of the health advocacy intervention will be decided and documented. The General Practitioners and the community of unemployed people will be engaged to raise awareness regarding the health issues and requirement of the unemployed people. The need for a comprehensive plan among key political decision-makers within one year will be laid down. Next step is the crucial one, in which the advocacy tools that will be used in the plan are assessed and documented which will include the media campaigns, the network of contacts, social marketing, communications methods fundraising and government links (World Health Organisation, 2008). The quality and quantity of services such as education, information distribution and new laws will be evaluated. The available and accessible resources will be examined and recorded which will include financial resources, human capital including professional and volunteer workers and social resources such as trust, understanding and communications. Leaders will be consulted to build a network which will work towards accomplishing the values and goals of meeting the health needs of unemployed people. Leaders of the community will help in mobilizing and pressurizing the decision-makers with the help of their leadership and communication skills. After the network of leaders is built, members and stakeholders will be engaged by developing common ground. It will require having a shared vision, inclusion while decision-making in planning (Fafard, 2008). After that the stakeholder network (the community of unemployed people, GPs, leaders, etc.) will be facilitated and mobilized to act together with a collective voice and shared mission. Lastly, the impact of the plan will be measures and the advocacy methods will be modified as per the review report (Florence Morestin; National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy, 2013). Further, based on the success of the plan, the network can be expanded via community outreach and community engagement by making use of the collaborative force that was developed in the initial steps (World Health Organization, 2008). Role theory is one of the theories which is in-built in social theory and social structure. Role theory interprets the role of people and elucidates the manner in which they are acting in these roles because of the social requirements. The social role of an individual or group include the rights, responsibilities, expectations, standards and behaviors that an individual needs to meet. The social roles of an individual shape their behavior and daily activities. By making the community aware of the health needs of the unemployed people, their behavior can be shaped to bring change in community. Further, role theory suggests that in order to bring a change in behavior it is essential to change roles as specific roles lead to specific behaviors as per the particular social standards. For people who are facing unemployment, their role is guided by the lack of job they were pursuing. Further they may be experiencing physical, mental and financial problems which can affect and modify one’s role in life. Role theory can be used to understand a significant aspect of understanding the coping strategies an individual uses during unemployment. Role theory can be used in advocacy strategy as it is based on the notion that an individual act in a predictable manner as per the social roles which are directed by social standards. (Holland & Kelly, 2012). It is essential to use effective communication tactics in order to inform, mobilize and pressure the decision-makers. For example, it is only through effective communication skills and efficient flow of communication that awareness can be created, public interest and demand can be generated and the issue of health needs of unemployed people can be placed on public agenda and social support can be developed. Empowerment of the population leads to creation of advocacy strategies (Health Consumers Queensland, 2009). One of the conventional and effective tactics of communication that can be used is mass media campaigns. It will involve informing the community about the plan, demonstrating the benefits of the advocacy plan and asking for support from the citizens in order to bring a change at broader level. Media that be used for informing and persuading the people are advertising, fund-raising, social marketing and public information for health and safety. An effective approach of communication is essential at another level which will involve interpersonal communication through leaders or change agents. It will ensure that the issues of the population are identified, debated and decisions are made after having proper interactions. Such interactive processes will build public pressure and demand to impact the power holders who are ultimately the policy-makers (Servaes & Malikhao, 2010). In addition, the mass media campaigns can play a strong advocacy role in developing awareness among public, bringing the change and targeting the decision-makers. Conversely, the policy-makers also require this information to make a decision which is socially acceptable by the community. To take full advantage of advocacy, apart from media, the unemployed individuals, network of leaders and other segments of society must be engaged in this procedure (Institute of Medicine, 2003). Advocacy involves a combination of processes including social networking and mobilization, interpersonal communication and discussion, and using media for building public pressure. The supporting evidence identified by the suitable professionals must be efficiently applied by using different means suggested above in order to present a strong case for the addressing the health needs of the unemployed people (Chapman, 2004). Conclusion An integrated approach should be used for planning the health advocacy strategies. It is essential to involve the community in the planning and use their communication skills by raising awareness on their knowledge regarding the topic of interest. It will assist in impacting the decision-makers and improving the health outcome. A sequence of steps needs to be followed in effective advocacy planning which will include building citizen power to pressurize power holders. These will include community gathering, stakeholder analysis, examination of the advocacy methods to be used, evaluation of available resources, consultation with leaders, involving all the stakeholders in planning to ensure a shared vision and monitoring the plan. Role theory can be used to understand a significant aspect of understanding the coping strategies an individual uses during unemployment. Several advocacy tools such as health-focused media campaigns, social marketing, communication techniques, fundraising and government links can be used as per relevancy to accomplish the desired goal. References Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2006). National health survey: summary of results, 2004–05. Canberra: ABS. Retrieved from Chapman, S. (2004). Advocacy for public health: a primer. J Epidemiol Community Health, 58(5), 361-365. doi:[10.1136/jech.2003.018051] Fafard, P. (2008). Evidence and Healthy Public Policy: Insights from Health and Political Sciences. National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy. Retrieved from Florence Morestin; National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy. (2013). A Framework for Analyzing Public Policies: Practical Guide. Gouvernement du Québec. Retrieved from Gomm, Lincoln, Pikora, & Giles-Corti. (2006). Planning and implementing a community-based public health advocacy campaign: a transport case study from Australia. Health Promot Int, 21(4), 284-92. doi:10.1093/heapro/dal027 Harris, E., & Harris, M. F. (2009). Reducing the impact of unemployment on health: revisiting the agenda for primary health care. MJA, 191(2), 119-122. Retrieved November 3, 2018, from Harris, M. F., Harris, E., & Shortus, T. D. (2010). How do we manage patients who become unemployed? MJA, 192(2), 98-101. Retrieved from Health Consumers Queensland. (2009). Health Advocacy Framework. Health Consumers Queensland; Tomorrow’s Queensland. Retrieved November 3, 2018, from Holland, & Kelly. (2012). Effects of Unemployment on Health and Mental Health Based on Gender. Retrieved from Institute of Medicine. (2003). The Future of the Public’s Health in the 21st Century. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US). Retrieved from Lesperance, S. (2015). Concept Paper: Healthy Public Policy. Retrieved November 3, 2018, from Servaes, J., & Malikhao, P. (2010). Advocacy strategies for health communication. Public Relations Review, 36(1), 42-49. doi: World Health Organisation. (2008). ADVOCACY STEP 6: SELECTING METHODS OF ADVOCACY. Geneva: WHO. Retrieved November 3, 2018, from World Health Organization. (2008). ADVOCACY STEP 7: DEVELOPING AND IMPLEMENTING THE ADVOCACY PLAN. Geneva: World Health Organization.

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