Five Ways Community Health Professionals Impact Our Lives

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Community health professionals are responsible for providing culturally appropriate information to the public to shape up a healthy community. They enable people to rightfully access their healthcare services and understand the procedures or requirements effectively. Community health workers (CHWs) work under many different titles to positively change the community. They educate people about options that contribute to their holistic health, mental and physical wellbeing. As health coaches, family advocates, liaisons, outreach workers, patient navigators, and health interpreters, they significantly improve our lives. 

They, themselves, study comprehensive and extensive courses to have a firm grasp on public health. From social health to environmental health and research methods to law, CHWs are professional public health workers. Here are some of the many ways in which community health workers positively impact our lives:

1. Promoting Education about Public Health

The first and foremost responsibility of community health workers (CHWs) is to educate people about the healthcare system and a healthier lifestyle. They promote healthy living and teach the community about emerging diseases to deal with them effectively. They spread awareness about contagious viruses and measures which people could take to protect themselves. Information asymmetry in healthcare has led to several barriers among health services providers and seekers. Community health workers are bridging this gap. They also devise and communicate strategies regarding new health laws, encouraging them to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle.

It is a leadership role that requires them to pursue higher education and get more qualified. Individuals can take up degrees like MPH online to expand their academic expertise and become eligible for decision-making jobs. Online education helps them practice while studying, which is conducive to developing practical skills. They also meet with clients face-to-face and discuss specific health plans or self-care procedures for chronic illnesses. The public health professionals sometimes teach in medical schools or give lectures in seminars to spread awareness. They help people connect with healthcare and make them realize the importance of taking care of themselves.

2. Advocating for the Community

Due to the lack of proper communication between the local healthcare system and community, these professionals must bridge the two parties. They can understand the community’s actual demands, needs, and necessities and convey them to policymakers. They speak up for people who don’t have proper access to quality healthcare. They advocate for the community so that the authorities can take appropriate action. They also serve as intermediaries to translate the new medical policies into more culturally acceptable terms. 

These professionals often work as community health advocates (CHA) to ensure that particular community members have fair access to healthcare. The community health advocates are a part of the government or non-profit organizations and play an integral role in positively impacting people’s lives. They are frontline workers who work alongside relevant authorities and ensure that everyone in the community has access to quality care.

3. Providing Health Services at Home

During the testing times of COVID-19, many community members needed at-home services because of the risk of the contagious virus. During this time, community health workers took up the responsibility to provide health services at home. They have specific roles that require them to administer chronically ill patients. They perform regular duties like monitoring their blood pressure, sugar levels and carrying out first aid. They also help out elderly clients and patients with mental illness by educating them about self-care. They also help them choose the best care plan and involve their families in essential matters.

4. Offering Social Support

Seeking social support is one of the most basic human needs. Many community health workers offer social support to the people of the society. People feel empowered to know that there are professional individuals who care for them. They feel important, and this helps them opt for a healthier and better lifestyle. Community health professionals help patients seek the right healthcare services and connect with the authorities. Also, offering social support helps the community eliminate social disparities and positive change in the future. When the community health workers become the support system of certain social groups, they understand the depth of health inequalities. They know how discrimination based on gender, sexuality, race, religion, etc., could lead to people becoming victims of health disparity. They bring all of this up to policymakers and work together to bring equality in the community.

5. Building a Robust Communication System

Communication can be a significant hurdle in receiving quality care, and community health professionals help greatly. They build a robust communication system that bridges the gap between community members and healthcare. It becomes challenging to understand the complexities of the system, especially for those with language barriers. These professionals often work as translators to remove the discrepancy and help them understand the healthcare system. Usually, community health professionals work in their native regions, but that’s not always the case.

To understand the people of a particular locality, they become culturally competent by taking specific courses and academic programs. They know that some people might not be comfortable going to the hospital due to certain beliefs. They don’t blame the community members for not understanding medical terminologies. Instead, they try to figure out ways to help them.

Conclusion

Conclusively, we need to commend and appreciate the efforts of community health workers in our society. They are an integral part of our community and are always working towards positive change in society. They impact our lives in many ways. By informing the community about health issues, preventive measures, figuring medical plans, and making public health more adaptable.

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