|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Ecology Healthcare policy Climate change|
It is widely known that the environment in which people live is one of the main determinants of health. The environment is usually associated with health because people largely depend on it to derive resources and energy. For instance, humans survive by depending on clean drinking water as well as clean air, and these resources are provided by the environment. Consequently, climatic change has adverse effects on the environment, which in turn transfers to health, thereby adverse health outcomes among populations. It is observed that people in the United States face different health challenges in a given environment, which calls for proper intervention through effectively designed policies. The paper explores a policy health issue in the form of climate change and its impact on the delivery of healthcare in the United States.
Policy health issue
Over the last few decades, there have been intensified human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels (Lemery & Auerbach, 2017). These activities have been responsible for increased amounts of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases. The result has been signified by a drastic climatic change, which has resulted in detrimental changes such as extreme weather events. Usually, environmental health takes many forms, including how the environment affects human health, causes injuries as well as diseases. More than 100 health risk factors that cause diseases and injuries are associated with the environment, and climate change is associated with the majority of non-communicable diseases, including stroke, cancer, respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular illnesses (Green, 2018). In other cases, climate change causes adverse weather events such as hurricanes, which often results in injuries and even death. From another perspective, climate change adversely affects the social determinants of health, including lifestyle, food, housing, water, and sanitation (Paavola, 2017). For instance, the lack of access to healthy and balanced nutrition could lead to deficiency diseases.
According to Ebi, Mills, Smith, and Grambsch (2018), the U.S. National Assessment has categorized health impacts due to climate change as effects of temperature, extreme weather events, vector-borne diseases, water-borne diseases, and airborne diseases. Ebi, Mills, Smith, and Grambsch also note that population was also anticipated to increase, and this would mainly affect those that are 65 years and above who will reach more than 100 million at the end of the 21st century. The population, together with those aged one and below, are the most vulnerable to climatic change, including extreme weather events such as flooding surging temperatures that might cause diseases like stroke, airborne diseases, water, and food-borne diseases, and vector and rodent-borne diseases (Green, 2018). This is at the local, state, and even national levels, which make it a health issue of great concern.
Climate change is responsible for a wide range of health risk factors that cause diseases and injuries. It is clear that environmental health takes many forms and, as such, encompasses numerous health impacts that range from effects of temperature, extreme weather events, vector-borne diseases, water-borne diseases, and airborne diseases. These are responsible for negative influence on one's psychological, mental, and physical health, and this, in turn, lowers the quality of public health in the United States. These effects, as indicated above, have a greater impact on the vulnerable population, including infants and those aged older individuals. The impact is even greater when these groups are low-income earners, as this means that they cannot afford quality care, and at the same time, they only access limited care. In this consideration, one can deduce that climate change is a public health issue with profound effects, and thus it needs an immediate and affective address to enhance the health outcomes of citizens, particularly the vulnerable populations.
Suggestions for addressing the health issue caused by the current policy
The United States' government has enacted several climate change laws, and this is through various federal laws that serve as the baseline for environmental requirements. For instance, the federal law has several statutes such as the clean water act, Resource Conservation, and Recovery Act, Clean Air Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental, Response Compensation, and Liability Act (Schwartz, Dell'Aglio, Nickle & Hornsby-Myers, 2014). These acts are the ones that are used by federal regulatory agencies to prevent climate change. Despite these efforts, the climate change problem persists, and this calls for engagement with local communities in protecting the environment. The most effective policy would be that which involves local communities in protection efforts. Nevertheless, different stakeholders need to engage, including the government, both local and state governments, healthcare practitioners, healthcare organizations, local communities, and other concerned healthcare staff. These stakeholders will devise strategies that will prevent climatic change.
Impact on the health care delivery system
An extensive policy that incorporates important stakeholders, especially the local community, would be the ideal solution to preventing climatic change. This would see improved healthcare outcomes because climatic change correlates to poor public health outcomes. I would expect that improved climatic conditions would replicate to reduced illnesses associated with surging temperatures. I would also expect less adverse outcomes associated with extreme weather events and reduced instances of vector-borne diseases, water-borne diseases, and airborne diseases.
Climate change has a significant impact on the delivery of healthcare in the United States, and this is so because drastic climatic change has resulted in detrimental changes such as extreme weather events. National Assessment has categorized health impacts due to climate change as effects of temperature, extreme weather events, vector-borne diseases, water-borne diseases, and airborne diseases, and these mostly affect those that are 65 years and those below one year. These effects can be minimized through collective efforts among relevant stakeholders and particularly including the local community in the policy.
Ebi, K., Mills, D., Smith, J., & Grambsch, A. (2006). Climate Change and Human Health Impacts in the United States: An Update on the Results of the U.S. National Assessment. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114(9), 1318-1324. doi: 10.1289/ehp.8880
Green, S. (2018). Community & Public Health: The Future of Health Care. Retrieved 11 March 2020, from https://lc.gcumedia.com/nrs427vn/community-and-public-health-the-future-of-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/4
Lemery, J., Auerbach, P., Pruden, J., & Tantor Media. (2018). Enviromedics: The impact of climate change on human health. Old Saybrook, Conn: Tantor Media.
Paavola, J. (2017). Health impacts of climate change and health and social inequalities in the U.K. Environmental Health, 16(S1). doi: 10.1186/s12940-017-0328-z
Schwartz, M., Dell'Aglio, D., Nickle, R., & Hornsby-Myers, J. (2014). Federal Environmental and Occupational Toxicology Regulations and Reporting Requirements: a Practical Approach to What the Medical Toxicologist Needs to Know, Part 2. Journal Of Medical Toxicology, 10(4), 415-427. doi: 10.1007/s13181-014-0411-6
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