Health is one of the precious assets we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted. It shouldn’t be overlooked as good health is one of life’s greatest blessings. Ensuring there is quality, affordable health care to keep a nation and communities safe should be the priority of a country.
Community health focuses on the maintenance, protection, and improvement of the health status of population groups or communities by providing preventive health care services as these help people gain access to medical resources, engage citizens in care decisions, and seek out lower medical costs thereby reducing the need for expensive emergency care and hospitalization.
A community health worker works with other community agencies to address the area’s physical, mental, social and cultural characteristics, including nutrition, housing, and transportation.
To Improve the health status of a community, you must interact dynamically with community members and create a lasting positive impact on the population.
Problems are part of life. We all deal with individual problems, families have family issues, and communities have community problems. Communities must come together to solve their problems, just like families.
In this article, we will discover the 7 example of community health problems and the problems affecting people’s well-being in a particular geographical area. The conditions tend to pose a risk to the health of individuals in a community.
Characteristics of a Healthy Community
- A healthy community consists of an environment that provides everyone’s basic needs.
- Promotes peace and unity among individuals, there should be social harmony among individuals.
- The physical environment should be clean and safe.
- Identifying local problems and solutions.
- Access to experience, communication, and interactions by community members.
- Diverse and innovative economy.
- Resources are available for sustainable use.
Criteria for Identifying Community Health Problems
- Frequency of the problem- When the health problem occurs too frequently.
- Duration -The problem has lasted for a while. The period of time it has stayed.
- Range-The problem affects many people.
- Severity- The problem is disrupting personal or community life, and possibly intense.
- Equity-The problem deprives people of legal or moral rights.
- Perception-The issue is perceived as a problem.
7 Example of Community Health Problems
- Drug Abuse
- Inadequate Water Supply
- Poor Food Sanitation
- Mismanagement of Resources
- Conflict and Violence
- Improper Refuse Storage and Disposal
When harmful substances are introduced into the environment, the environment becomes uncomfortable to live in, thereby affecting the health of individuals in the community.
Human activity, such as trash or runoff produced by factories can cause pollution. Pollutants damage the quality of air, water, and land, which is detrimental to human health.
Pollution is a global problem as it can spread to a wide range of places, as air and water current carries pollutants.
Ocean currents and migrating fish carry marine pollutants far and wide. Winds can pick up radioactive material accidentally released from a nuclear reactor and scatter it around the world. Smoke from a factory in one country drifts into another country.
Also, the release of these harmful substances such as carbon dioxide, and methane can cause global warming whereby there is a rise in the temperature of the atmosphere, making the environment unhealthy to live in. Taking these pollutants into the body can cause respiratory issues, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources agency should be assisted by other government agencies, to resolve the problem of pollution in an area by set-up guidelines in controlling and management.
There should be increased public awareness regarding the ill effects of pollution on health. This information will also be an instrument in helping implement such strategies to the solution of the problem.
2. Drug Abuse
There is simply no way to abuse drugs for long without physical consequences.
Drug abuse is usually psychoactive drugs that are used by people, especially among young adults and school children. These drugs can be taken in for recreation purposes as a drug prescribed by a medical practitioner, that was intended for pain relief is now in use, some use it as a means of obtaining creative inspiration.
Examples of these drugs include alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, marijuana, and heroin which can be administered through different routes such as orally in the form of a pill, intravenously in the form of an injection, by inhaling the substance in the form of smoke or via snorting the substance so it is absorbed into the blood vessels of the nose.
The physical health of an individual has been affected due to drug abuse. For example, alcohol is hard on the vital organs, especially the liver and stomach. Cocaine can cause stroke or permanent heart damage. Heroin intake leads to long-term imbalances in neurons and hormonal systems and damages the brain. It also triggers existing mental health conditions.
3. Inadequate Water Supply
Reservoirs, tunnels, or pipelines are used to supply water to the community. The health of a community will be affected if there is no or little supply of water or the water is polluted, as they lack access to safely managed sanitation.
Good water maintains good health and manages the environment. It should be reliable, adequate and accessible, and free from chemical pollutants and disease-causing organisms.
In order to ensure that everyone has access to adequate sanitation and hygiene, the Sustainable Development Goals on Water and Sanitation reflect the importance of water and sanitation as human rights, by lowering pollution and vastly boosting water efficiency, they enhance the quality of the water.
Contaminated water supply leads to outbreaks of diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, E.coli, Diarrhea, and the occurrence of waterborne diseases are affecting the health of people due to the consumption of low-quality water obtained from unhygienic sources.
The largest multilateral source of financing for water supply and sanitation in developing countries known as the World Bank Group in the past ten years has approved 262 water projects, amounting to US$31.2 billion, of which US$21.3 billion, or 68 percent, are categorized as WSS projects. This project helps to manage the huge cost of accessing, maintaining, and managing a good water supply.
4. Poor Food Sanitation
The occurrence of disease caused by unsafe food in the community can be prevented, if there is maintenance of proper hygiene in food production.
One of the keys to sustaining life and promoting good health is having access to a sufficient amount of safe and nutritious food. Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances causes various diseases like diarrhea, cancers affecting infants, young children, the elderly, and the sick.
From the moment food is produced or harvested to the time that it is eaten, it is vulnerable to contamination. There should be rules and procedures to prevent the contamination of food, and keep it safe to eat by the Government health agencies.
These laws should include safe cooking and holding temperatures for food, sterilization of cutting boards and other implements; proper attire for handlers, such as gloves and breathing masks.
Good collaboration between governments, producers, and consumers is needed to help ensure food safety and stronger food systems.
5. Mismanagement of Resources
For the operation of a good healthcare system in a community, facilities, resources, and materials are needed.
Everyone needs a good healthcare system but the resources are limited due to mismanagement with unlimited demands
With proper management of these resources, there will be adequate treatment of many diseases and
improvements in life expectancy.
One of the mismanagement of resources is a lack of training for primary healthcare service providers. Lack of medical equipment, few medical experts.
All these constitute a hindrance to the provision of quality health services in the community
A diverse collection of resources should be available in the community to respond to health concerns: hospitals, schools, media, conservation agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency, local consulting agencies, and physicians.
6. Conflict and Violence
The health of every individual is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security and is depends on the fullest cooperation of individuals and the Community
Conflicts and violence have clear impacts on health. Conflicts and violence cause the collapse of essential medical supply chains and the breakdown of social and economic systems as healthcare workers flee and starvation and epidemics spread.
Rates of infant mortality, sexual violence, and mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress increase significantly during and after conflict
The lack of access to basic social services such as health care for specific populations like ethnic, and religious which can lead to feelings of exclusion and of unfair or unequal treatment.
These inequities lead to grievances which in turn boil over into protests and, later, violence. Promoting and preserving peace is the full attainment of good health.
The concept of health as a bridge for peace emerged in the 1980s as part of WHO’s approach to the provision of post-conflict health assistance.
Over the years many health initiatives have been implemented to promote peace by helping mend relations between individuals and communities, through trust-building
and inclusive processes that promote dialogue.
Dialogue facilitates peace between state authorities, local medical practitioners and communities in conflict zones and addresses needs and grievances expressed by the people in the community.
Also, community members engage in processes of healing and inclusive dialogue to overcome social divisions, as well as the physical and mental scars of war and are provided with the opportunities to voice their grievances in a safe and constructive manner.
7. Improper Refuse Storage and Disposal
Poor and improper refuse disposal can cause serious havoc on habitats, air, water, and soil thereby affecting human health.
The spread of communicable diseases and the production of insects and rodents can be caused by improper storage and disposal of waste. This can also create foul odor in the community which causes irreparable damage to the environment and will impact human health.
For instance, when water is contaminated with foreign substances, like harmful pathogens, toxic chemicals or medical waste its chemical composition changes making it harmful to use. Diseases like Cholera, Dysentery can spread through water that is contaminated and can cause serious health challenges in a community.
Waste should be reduced, reused and recycled for proper waste management. They should be gathered, categorized and separated into biodegradable, degradable, and hazardous waste and disposed through incineration, treatment, Landfilling, or composting.
Ending any practices that contribute to extra waste can help save many lives and keep the world’s environment a healthy place.
1. Solutions to Community Health Problems
- Control insects and rodents in the environment.
- Good food sanitation.
- Proper waste management.
- Ensure peace and order between communities by discussing the physical, cultural, social and emotional features of the community.
- Good management of health care resources.
- Educate and inform people about the importance of medical treatment and safe lifestyles.
- Ensuring the availability of essential medical services like screenings, therapy, and counseling.
- There should be a reduction of the cost of expensive treatments and hospitalizations.
- Advocating to state and federal officials for better treatment for at-risk communities.
2. Steps in Community Health Assessment
- An assessment team should be established.
- Identify and secure resources.
- Identify and engage community partners.
- Collect, analyze, and present data.
- Prioritize health settings.
- Clarify the issue.
- Setting goals and measuring progress.
- Choose strategies.
- Managing and sustaining the process.
3. Causes of Community Health Problems
- Lack of government support.
- Lack of health programs.
Community health represents community needs that must be met, maintained, and protected. It is a big hope for a large population who do not have access to a good healthcare system.
The problems affecting community health include pollution, drug abuse, improper waste disposal, inadequate water supply, conflicts and violence, ethnicity or racism,low resources or funding.
Strategies should be developed and implemented to resolve these problems faced, such as setting up community health centers, mobile clinics, and services for outreach to counter these health problems.
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