Health Policy Analysis
Health Policy Analysis
A: Health Policy from the Standpoint of Cultural Diversity
The United States is home to different ethnic and cultural populations. The comprehensive tuberculosis elimination act of 2014 adopted by the USA Congress is aimed at eliminating the disease not only within the country but also at a global scale (Christopher & Brian, 2008). The policy is, therefore, affecting different populations across the country as well as across the world. Diverse populations address the issue of tuberculosis from different points of view. Many think it does not have a cure and can be compared to HIV/AIDS in terms of severity, while others treat it as an infection and do not stigmatize the affected persons, as they understand it is curable. Therefore, the policy affects many communities based on their cultural beliefs.
One of the major objectives of the policy was to reduce tuberculosis across the racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States. In addition, it was to address social determinants of health. Those who have tried to conceal tuberculosis were forced to publicly reveal their illness to educate other individuals which served as a means of providing information to the society and enlightening them about the dangers and risks of the disease. Another positive impact was provision of medical aid in terms of both medication as well as related health services. The population received better health care to prevent and combat the infection.
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Implementation of the Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act of 2014 raised a number of concerns over accessibility of health care for Tuberculosis (TB) patients in the USA Congress. This led to inclusion of three major strategies in order to aid in elimination of the disease (Anderson & May, 2007). The policy aimed at effectively utilizing the existing prevention and control methods in the areas that are considered to have high-risk populations. Secondly, there was an expectation to develop and evaluate new technologies of diagnosis, treatment, as well as prevention of the infection. Thirdly, the approach implied assessment and transfer of newly developed technologies into clinics and other health facilities. Hence, these strategies aim at ensuring that health care is available to all, especially the high risk populations at all times.
The familial and cultural notions were impacted positively by the health policy. Though it was a challenge, cultural notions by some communities were negative about TB. The educating process played a key role in combating familial and cultural notions. Many remained unaware about the infection while others simply misinterpreted the content. It is becoming easier to implement the policy with populations that are more open-minded in this regard. More people are seeking treatment and, thus, reducing its spread.
The health policy aims at addressing both local and global concerns of tuberculosis. This has led to its benefits spilling to all racial as well as ethnic populations (Christopher & Brian, 2008). The health centers were equipped with the equipment and medication to combat TB. In addition, they were relocated closer to these populations so that every individual was able to gain access to these services and products without having to travel to another region. The approach helps to reduce the chances of new infections and in curing the existing infections at an early stage. Therefore, the above health policy and respective measures enhanced improvement in the health of these ethnic and racial populations.
B: Stigmatization or Alienation of Diverse Populations because of the Health Policy
The Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act of 2014 led to stigmatization of some populations considered diverse. The policy outlined that one of the main goals would be addressing the reduction of TB in racial/ethnic minority populations such as foreign-born persons who reside in the United States or travel to the country. This points out to a given population even at the local level. Some individuals have associated the infection to minority populations leading to stigmatization and in some extreme cases, alienation.
The health policy is oriented to the entire population including the white population but is more specific to special groups, termed as high-risk populations in the policy (Anderson & May, 2007). The policy addressed the above groups differently on the assumption that the white population had been educated on the dangers and risks of tuberculosis more than other populations and ethnic groups; though, such approach was not meant to be in a discriminatory manner. The gap between different populations on enlightenment of the infection was deemed very large. This was also based on the cultural and familial notions that varied between different ethnic and racial groups.
Various populations did not receive the specifications positively. The populations that were not pointed out as being high-risk, felt it was risky to associate with the others because of the risk of getting infected (Broekmans & Ruutu, 2002). Such affected the prospects of more progressive health policy initiatives as many have the fear of being associated with the infection even when they know that they are clean. This led to shying away as many individuals did not turn out in numbers to receive education, as they should have done. The numbers were low and the turnout would have been better if stigmatization did not occur. As a result, meeting the objectives became a challenge.
C: Intended and Unintended Consequences of the Health Policy
There are both intended and unintended consequences of the Act of 2014. In reference to intended consequences, it raised the alarm on TB. Thus, population became aware of the situation. Due to an increase in resource needs, the policy addressed the consequence by ensuring that health facilities were equipped with better equipment and more medication. The educational materials were distributed across the globe in an effort to create awareness.
Some unintended consequences included discriminatory aspects. While the main concern was to address areas and populations that were more prone to tuberculosis, the health policy led to discrimination which, in turn, contributed to widen the gap between different ethnic populations (Mandeep & Bishai, 2010). This will need further explanation to help individuals understand why different populations were picked as high-risk areas rather than basing it on racial factors.
The intended consequences are resolved with the provision of equipment rather than sending prospective health seekers back. Health facilities can accommodate the rising numbers of patients. The unintended consequences are also being resolved through further education to provide information on why the high-risk populations were pointed out. Nevertheless, with the right mind-set, cases of discrimination might decrease gradually. As a result, the health policy is likely to meet its objectives. As more equipment and medication is provided, it applies to all communities. In addition, all parties might receive educational gain about tuberculosis with the same enthusiasm.
The Act seeks to address a number of concerns regarding tuberculosis. For instance, it points out high-risk populations that require more specified attention. Though the act and its implementation have raised different feelings from the public, the health policy aims at meeting its objectives progressively as the emerging misunderstandings are cleared.