Improving health care for American Indians
Accessibility to good quality health care services is considered very important for a nation. This is because it improves various health outcomes, like the ones that have been set by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It becomes very hard from achieving the health issues covered in MDGs if a country’s vulnerable populations seldom have access to professional health personnel and other crucial inputs.
Significant difference in health exists between the United States general population and the people of the American Indian. This difference in health arises from the complex problems faced by the American Indian people, including low incomes, lack of adequate housing, poor education systems, cultural factors, and malnutrition (Spector, 2009). This paper intends to discuss on the strategies for improvement of the health care for American Indian population.
The region covered by the Indian health service is characterized by the health care system that is not well funded. Lack of access to healthcare services has made the region to have the highest incidences of diseases that are preventable. In the Arizona State, the average age at which people die is about 72. 2 years for the general population, while for Indian Americans is only 54.7 years (Shi & Singh, 2011). The American Indian population has been greatly affected by the cases of preventable diseases than the rest of Americans.
One of the strategies that can be applied to improve healthcare for American Indian population is to increase funding for Indian Health Service (HIS). This added fund will help in procuring the much needed equipments and drugs as well as in hiring more medical professionals (Spector, 2009). This will increase accessibility of good healthcare by the American Indian hence, reduction in the health disparities between them and the native population. The second strategy is requesting the Federal agencies that provide benefits and services to Alaskan population to partner with other agencies and conduct regular reviewing of policies that might prevent their collaboration and access to health benefits and services (Shi & Singh, 2011). There is need for these agencies to be flexible in order to promote access to high quality, cost effective and well coordinated health care to the Alaskan population.
The third strategy is to enroll more American Indians in the medical training colleges. The Federal agencies need to collaborate with the existing medical institutions in offering training programs that will help improve the welfare of the community (Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, n.d).
The prospect of the American Indian population with regard to health lies on the success in addressing behavioral health issue by stakeholders like individuals, families and communities and its eventual integration into the health systems of the community (Shi & Singh, 2011). To achieve success and maintain behavioral change in the community there are requirements that need to be fulfilled. These are cultural reconnections, community participation, increasing resources, leadership capacity, and the ability of the existing systems to adjust to the emerging and changing issues. Factors like, education, economic development, housing, and justice fall under social determinants of health and impact heavily on the health and well being of the American Indian people.
Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. “Training and Networking on Health Disparities.” Retrieved on 27th January 2012 from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/healthdisparities/americanindians.html
Shi, L. & Singh, D (2011). Delivering Health Care in America. New York: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Spector, R. E. (2009). Cultural diversity in health and illness. (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall
Chapter 8, part 1: Retrieved on 27th January 2012 from: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/47566859/Cultural%20Diversity%20Chapter%208/Cultural%20Diversity%201.pdf
Chapter 8, part 2: Retrieved on 27th January 2012 from: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/47566859/Cultural%20Diversity%20Chapter%208/Cultural%20Diversity%202.pdf
Chapter 8, part 3: Retrieved on 27th January 2012 from: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/47566859/Cultural%20Diversity%20Chapter%208/Cultural%20Diversity%203.pdf