Responding to Crises in Public Health, Coursework Example
Public health communication during the SARS crisis in Toronto, Canada, required that all individuals both professional and amateur become immediately knowledgeable and aware of the issues. Within the SARS discussion video, the roundtable of medical professionals provided quite an array of communication avenues by which the entire community could become involved and aware in the outbreak. First of all, professionals must be aware of the legislation. The government communicates the appropriate resources and tasks by which medical professionals and public health officials must utilize to respond to such a crisis (University of North Carolina, 2009). Legislation must not only be up-to-date but effectively communicated to the community for all persons to understand requirements and appropriate response efforts. Furthermore, another key communication strategy is to provide education to local communities for citizens to understand the health risks involves and treatment methods necessary to respond to major health crises (University of North Carolina, 2009). In areas such as Toronto, it is important to develop brochures and educational health materials in a multilingual format to ensure all persons are appropriately educated on the issue which was a highly effective technique during the SARS outbreak in Toronto.
In addition to government-sponsored educational materials, medical professionals must also be able to communicate face-to-face with patients and calling public health department. Not only must doctors and nurses provide patients with information on SARS, but they must also have communicated recent and new findings to the public health department. Failure to do so restricted the quality of the communication efforts for all agencies and persons involved to respond to the health crisis (University of North Carolina, 2009). Furthermore, members of responding agencies must have communicate to politicians with issues that are difficult to face in times of a crisis. For instance, the video described such issues as understaffed call centers, underfunded medical resources and inappropriate amount and quality of resources at the time of the crisis. Finally, internet communication strategies were also found to be highly effective during the Toronto SARS epidemic. Web communication provided an avenue for individuals to stay up-to-date on government regulations, health compliance and a useful resource for forum discussions with officials and medical professional to stay on top of epidemic issues and ways in which local communities and the medical field respond to such issues.
Typically, most people do not think of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2011 as a major health-related crisis; however, it was perhaps one of the most critical health crises in the United States in recent memory. Aside from planes crashing into the sides of the Twin Towers, the climactic destruction of the buildings produced a severe health disaster for rescue responders and citizens within the near blocks of the disaster. The rubble of the destruction produced an environment where cement, clay and a cloud of dust were thrust into the air and consequently breathed in by all individuals near the ground zero site. Furthermore, the destruction of the buildings provided an avenue for individuals to be trapped underneath the debris – some being fatal while others caused severe damage to the victims. This critical crisis in the United States’ history was a turning point for government officials to evaluate the degree to which medical and emergency responders were prepared to effectively respond to the events.
After looking back to re-evaluate the quality of care provided by government agencies to victims of September 11, myriad changes were implemented by politicians and health agencies for future issues that may arise. Government agencies have begun to enter into exciting new partnerships as well as developing new technologies that are key to identifying, analyzing, responding and tracking response efforts in times of crisis (Lurie, 2006). These efforts are important to effectively develop new resources and properly utilize current organizational resources. Integration of preparedness with other public health functions continues to be a highly challenging aspect that calls on development of leadership, governance and accountability of politicians, government agencies and public health officials (Lurie, 2006). This is a bi-product of the unpreparedness that the United States agencies and officials found as a result of September 11. Despite further efforts, crises response efforts must improve in overall preparedness and available resources to provide the best possible response and care.
Lurie, N., Wasserman, J., & Nelson, C. D. (2006). Public health preparedness: Evolution or revolution?. Health Affairs, 25(4), 935-945.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. (2009). SARS: When a global outbreak hits home. Retrieved November 15, 2011, from http://www.publichealthgrandrounds.unc.edu/sars/ondemand/index.php?webcast=2003-10-23_sars&action=view.
Time is precious
don’t waste it!