Proposal for a Community-Based Program
Nobody would deny the fact that individual attitudes and decisions affect and manage the society. Health-related habits and actions of each community member are increasingly important as they reflect a shared social ethics and eventually the well-being of the society. As a matter of fact, personal choices and decisions heavily depend upon a variety of external factors, such as education, finance, ethnicity, gender, age, etc. In providing high-quality health care much attention should be paid to the environment, as long as it influences a person’s vulnerability. Thus, the community-based programs become an important consideration, as they can bridge personal needs, choices, environment and governmental thinking. Hence, in the following paper a community-based program for vulnerable mothers and children will be proposed and discussed.
Before proceeding to any discussion of the proposed community-based program, it is appropriate to describe the impact of environmental factors on the vulnerability of mothers and children. While ethnicity, social status, culture matter in achieving positive health outcomes, the maternal age has a considerable impact on maternal and infant health. It is worth mentioning that mother/infant mortality, premature birth and low birth weight are major adverse effects for both infants and mothers. Mothers under 14 years of age have the highest risk of having low birth weight children. Part of the reason for this is that mothers at this age typically do not seek for appropriate prenatal care. Moreover, such mothers lack high-school diploma and sex education in particular, which is why proper nutrition and habits throughout pregnancy are generally disregarded. Besides, young mothers may avoid early prenatal care if the pregnancy is unplanned or unwanted. This age category is also associated with negative preexisting medical conditions, such as alcohol, tobacco, and substance use, which adversely affect the health of an unborn child. At the same time, advanced maternal age is also unfavorable for giving a birth. The occurrence of multiple births and related complications are rather frequent in mothers over 40 years of age.
Additionally, income plays a crucial role in the maintenance of appropriate environment while pregnancy. Needless to say, low income families have limited access to the necessary medicines and can hardly afford proper prenatal care. Also, the maternal nutrition during pregnancy leaves much to be desired. Therefore, inadequate medical care partnered with malnutrition contributes to a high-risk pregnancy. Finally, income influences a person’s everyday health decisions. Many people in vulnerable populations fear to lose their job, and hence they fail to maintain appropriate child care.
Apart from this, social, economic and political factors have a profound influence first and foremost on the well-being of vulnerable populations. Today mothers may encounter negative social attitudes, which have an impact on their decision-making. For example, teenage pregnancy is viewed as totally inappropriate, which is why adolescent mothers may postpone seeking prenatal care. Moreover, such mothers may make unhealthy eating choices or even take drugs and other substances, as they attempt to act as if they are not pregnant. With respect to economic factors, low-income mothers are no likely to receive high-quality prenatal care. Abundant financial resources are needed to recuperate after birth and then to deliver adequate care for an infant. Thus, they may decide to have an abortion or not to have children at all. In fact, vulnerable mothers are dramatically affected by economic crisis, as they are largely dependent on job stability and affordability of medicines and proper nutrition. Clearly, the government attempts to implement various community-based programs to regulate the situation on the political level. However, there are political issues that make mothers and their children extremely vulnerable. For instance, wars, terrorism, undemocratic tendencies and migration create hostile environment that make it difficult to provide domestic security and safe development of a child. Finally, these political events may result in economic decline, which also has a negative effect on the ability to care for a child.
Mothers can be exposed to a great number of risk factors, which drastically increase the risk of mother/infant death or health-related problems. Statistically, the vulnerable female population is more susceptible to ill effects of eating disorders and chronic diseases, so that a child might suffer the related complications. Moreover, low-income or adolescent pregnant women experience stress on the regular basis, which is why they are proved to be more exposed to alcohol and cigarette use. Drug dependency increases the burden, as an infant may develop addiction as well.
Influences on health of vulnerable mothers and children include socioeconomic status, education, diet and smoking behavior, and genes. Evaluation of the health needs of mothers and infants promotes a certain view that long-term care is required. Sufficient evidence suggests that continuing education is necessary to help women to make health choices regarding nutrition, alcohol and tobacco attitudes. It is a widely held view that medical care for vulnerable mothers should not be limited to the pregnancy period and some postnatal visits, thereby ensuring the maintenance of maternal and infant healthy lifestyles.
The proposed community-based program includes a variety of prenatal services for vulnerable mothers. Thus, an assertive outreach approach will be used in delivering the service. Since vulnerable populations typically live in precarious situations and cannot be reached by telephone, it is essential to involve outreach workers, who will provide prenatal interventions at home, if it becomes necessary. Additionally, the program will suggest a variety of classes in order to counsel mothers in making their health-related choices. The classes will be divided with respect to the health need of mothers and infants: single parent classes, specialist information (for example, legal advice), treatment and intervention classes for substance abuse parents, special trips to hospitals for immigrant women, etc.
All in all, the community-based program has been outlined and described. The findings of the study suggest that a variety of environmental factors affects significantly the vulnerability of mothers and infants. Therefore, prenatal care for this group remains an issue that should be watched carefully.