Public health advocacy campaigns play a vital role in creating public awareness on a particular health issue of interest. The idea behind public health campaigns is to sensitize persons on the need to adopt specific cautionary measures to enable them manage the transmission and or infectivity of a health condition. It is important to point out here that there exists diverse definitions of public health. For the purpose of this paper, public health is used to broadly refer to the wellbeing of the entire population (Kindig, 2007). The public health issue of interest in this case is Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B is caused by a viral agent. Upon infection, the virus attacks the liver and may precipitate either acute or chronic disease (World Health Organization, 2017). Transmission of the virus takes place through contact with infected body fluids such as blood. Statistically, over 257 million persons are infected with Hepatitis B. In most cases, Hepatitis B infection is fatal. In 2015, it is estimated that the mortality cases precipitated by Hepatitis B were at least 887,000 (World Health Organization, 2017). Epidemiologically, 6.1% of adults in Africa have the infection while in the Western Pacific area, 6.2% of the adults have the infection (World Health Organization, 2017). From these statistics, it is apparent that the condition is a public health concern hence the choice in this paper. In an effort to manage the transmission of the infection, numerous advocacy campaigns have been initiated by governmental and nongovernmental organizations. All persons are at risk and more so the health care workers.
The San Francisco Hepatitis B Free (SFHBF) is an advocacy campaign that seeks to rid San Francisco of this deadly infection. The initiative, which was launched in 2007, aims at promoting self-awareness among San Francisco residents, encourage diagnosis and pursuit of the available intervention measures (Bailey et al., 2011). The campaign targets both health care workers and the public. Other than promoting awareness, the initiative also provides subsidized Hepatitis B prevention measures. In China, Hepatitis B advocacy campaign is organized by the Gateway to Care Campaign (Cohen et al., 2015). The initiative was launched in 2010 in Haimen city with the objective of awareness creation among the public. The target in this case, as with the previous case, is the health care workers and the general population.
The Gateway to Care initiative used a multivariate approach to disseminate information. The methodology involved the use of print media, give away products with educational content and community based events to create awareness (Cohen et al., 2015). The emphasis of the educational material of each approach is customized to cover the transmission, diagnosis, management and prevention. Using this approach, the success rate is considerably high since at least one of these media is likely to ultimately reach the target group.
The methodology of SFHBF adopts a culturally designed approach to create awareness on diagnosis, treatment options, and prevention measures (Bailey et al., 2011). In addition, the program advocates for a change in institutional approach in the diagnosis and management of the condition in patients. It is important to point out here that the SFHBF focusses on optimization of the available applicable resources and integration of the entire package into the existing health care organizations. Through intensive grassroots campaign, SFBHF has achieved remarkable success in halting the incidence of Hepatitis B in its population.
The only policy I could possibly change is on the safety precautions and measures for protecting health care workers handling Hepatitis B patients. While most of the current advocacy campaigns emphasize on using the existing health infrastructure, it would be appropriate to have specialized centers for managing Hepatitis B cases due to its infectivity. The specialized centers would be equipped with high technology equipment for diagnosis and management to minimize exposure of the health care workers involved. If I were to develop a modified advocacy campaign, it would be take these recommendations into perspective while at the same time integrating the attributes of the other campaigns highlighted herein.
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