Policy Health Issue
The purpose of this paper is to discuss a public health issue, including the specific population affected and the level of its occurrence. The paper will also discuss the appropriate strategies that can be applied to address the public health issue. The public health issue of choice in this paper is air pollution. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution can be defined as air contamination by physical, biological, or chemical agents. The contamination can either be indoor or outdoor, depending on the place of exposure to the harmful agents. The agents tend to modify the nature of the atmosphere by producing gases such as nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and sulfur oxide, among others (Kinney, 2018). As a result, people breathe in harmful gases, leading to respiratory diseases.
Description of the Public Health Issue
As stated above, air pollution generally refers to air contamination by biological, chemical, and physical agents. Air pollution occurs due to releasing harmful gases into the atmosphere, such as nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide, and carbon monoxide. The gases are generated through combustion devices, fire, industrial processes, and motor vehicles. Data from the World Health Organization shows that the worldwide population breathes in the air with contaminations exceeding the WHO-provided limits and containing high doses of pollutants (“Air pollution,” n.d.). The population suffering most from air pollution includes people living in middle and low-income nations due to high chances of exposure. Policies have been implemented to control other environmental pollutants, such as noise pollution. However, the policies have not effectively reduced air pollution, which has high mortality and morbidity. The policies against environmental pollution include a nationwide policy to help overcome the increasing air pollution. Besides, given its adverse effects, air pollution is now considered a global public health issue. According to Tran, Park & Lee (2020), air pollution is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases. Worldwide, approximately two billion people are exposed to high levels of air pollutants, especially individuals using kerosene stoves or biomass for cooking. In developed countries, the primary cause of air pollution is motor vehicles and industrial plants. Other sources of pollution include power generation, residential energies, incineration, and agricultural wastes. For this reason, a sectoral policy was implemented to address the health issues associated with air pollution.
Despite implementing national policies to control air pollution, air pollution remains a significant public health issue. Even though the U.S. is a developed country and sources of air pollution have been eliminated, newer sources of air pollution result from development, such as increased industrial units and modern housing (Liang et al., 2020). Besides, a rise in air pollution-associated diseases has been recorded. Furthermore, air pollutants have been identified as risk factors for malignancies such as lymphoma, lung cancer, and breast cancer. For this reason, there is a need to review the current policy and change to policies that are protective against air pollution-associated diseases.
Suggestions for Addressing the Health Issue
Air pollution is inevitable due to the daily production of air pollutants. The current policies are designed to modify activities that are thought to cause air pollution. However, these policies do not protect against pollutants produced by motor vehicles. Furthermore, air pollutants are released into the atmosphere unnoticed. Therefore, the best way to address the health issue is by reviewing the current policies and modifying them to cover personal protection guidelines. As such, the best way to overcome the health issues associated with air pollution is by personal protection against inhaling harmful agents. This may include advising people to use face masks in areas with high air pollutants.
Steps Required for Policy Change
The policy change process is never linear; sometimes, things might be out of order. Nonetheless, the process should involve identifying the problem, identifying solutions, analyzing the solutions suggested, and finally adopting and evaluating the policy. Before initiating the process, it is essential to identify the stakeholders participating in the policy change process. The stakeholders who are important for this health issue are public health professionals. The public health team has a vital role in the process of policy change, including analyzing the policy, developing partnerships relevant to the policy change process, communicating the policy outcomes, and taking the lead in implementing evidence-based interventions (Fox et al., 2019). The other stakeholders would be other healthcare providers, including occupational therapists, nurses, physicians, and oncologists, who best understand the impact of air pollution on health.
Generally, the process for policy change has five steps. The first step involves identifying and defining the health issue, including its impact on the general population. This includes collecting information about the problem, including characteristics, scope severity, and budgetary implications of the problem. The problem is then put in a way that its solutions can be developed. The second step is policy analysis, which involves describing the problem, researching its mortality and morbidity impacts, and assessing its priorities. The third step is developing a policy and strategy for solving the problem. The fourth and fifth steps are policy enactment and implementation (Davis & Althaus, 2020). After the policy implementation is developed, the policy evaluation marks the last step. The policy is evaluated for its effectiveness in solving the health problem identified.
Impact on Healthcare Delivery System
The policy will play a significant role in the healthcare delivery system. To begin with, there will be reduced incidences of occupational respiratory diseases and other diseases associated with air pollutants. It is the happiness of the healthcare fraternity to have a healthy population. Notably, with this policy, there will be reduced mortality and morbidity caused by air pollution-associated diseases. Furthermore, particular malignancies, such as lung cancer, will decrease in the long term, and the general population’s health will be improved.
Air pollution. (n.d.). Who. Int. They were retrieved on November 19, 2022, from https://www.who.int/health-topics/air-pollution.
Davis, G., & Althaus, C. (2020). The Australian policy handbook: A practical guide to the policy-making process. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003117940.
Fox, M., Zuidema, C., Bauman, B., Burke, T., & Sheehan, M. (2019). Integrating public health into climate change policy and planning: state of practice update. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(18), 3232. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183232.
Kinney, P. L. (2018). Interactions of climate change, air pollution, and human health. Current Environmental Health Reports, 5(1), 179-186. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40572-018-0188-x
Liang, D., Shi, L., Zhao, J., Liu, P., Sarnat, J. A., Gao, S., & Chang, H. H. (2020). Urban air pollution may enhance COVID-19 case fatality and mortality rates in the United States. The Innovation, 1(3), 100047. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xinn.2020.100047.
Tran, V. V., Park, D., & Lee, Y. C. (2020). Indoor air pollution, related human diseases, and recent trends in the control and improvement of indoor air quality. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(8), 2927. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17082927.
We’ll write everything from scratch
Research public health issues on the “Climate Change” or “Topics and Issues” pages of the American Public Health Association (APHA) website. Investigate a public health issue related to an environmental issue within the U.S. healthcare delivery system and examine its effect on a specific population.
Write a 750-1,000-word policy brief that summarizes the issue, explains the effect on the population, and proposes a solution.
Follow this outline when writing the policy brief:
Describe the policy health issue. Please include the following information: (a) what population is affected, (b) at what level does it occur (local, state, or national), and (c) evidence about the issues supported by resources.
Create a problem statement.
Provide suggestions for addressing the health issue caused by the current policy. Describe what steps are required to initiate policy change. If applicable, include necessary stakeholders (government officials, administrator) and budget or funding considerations.
Discuss the impact on the health care delivery system.
Include three peer-reviewed sources and two other sources to support the policy brief.
Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines in the APA Style Guide in the Student Success Center.