It’s a common misconception that your health is only affected by what you eat and how often you exercise. However, implementing a lifestyle that could promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being goes well beyond these two objectives. For instance, your environment, access to clean and safe drinking water, and a like-minded group of people also play a significant role in improving the health of a community.
Improving public health and safety within communities is crucial for reducing the number of chronic illnesses and taking timely actions in case of a medical emergency. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth a special emphasis for communities to be prepared and plan for unprecedented circumstances.
Several factors impact the health and well-being of a community. An unhealthy population can reduce the overall quality of life and severely strain its resources. But working for betterment is a joint effort and not a one-person job. Therefore, it’s the duty of every individual, organization, and public official to respond to its people’s needs and do what’s necessary to protect the public.
Although most people understand that community health should be a top priority, most may find it challenging to figure out ways to improve it. To help you, we have listed tried-and-tested strategies to better your communities’ health and safety effectively.
1. Understand how complex adaptive systems work better together
The first step toward improving community health is understanding how various organizational structures are involved in solving and identifying public health concerns. By emphasizing systems thinking in healthcare disciplines, you can converge multiple fields simultaneously and find answers to a leading problem.
For example, there must be a system for conducting global surveillance and detecting new cases as they arise during an influenza outbreak. Secondly, there must be a laboratory setup to identify novel strains and design targeted therapeutics to contain the disease. Additionally, a unit that can communicate and develop relevant strategies for addressing the community and implementing suitable safety measures must also be present.
While each entity is necessary, it’s insufficient to control an outbreak. However, holistically, the entire system can prove beneficial for millions of lives—as long as you understand how to use it well.
2. Ensure safe and healthy living conditions
A safe and healthy environment isn’t a privilege but a fundamental human right. Regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status, everyone has a right to live in clean and secure conditions, away from unnecessary risks and dangers.
Unfortunately, billions of people globally, especially in developing countries, don’t have access to the proper resources. When living conditions are unsatisfactory, people are more prone and susceptible to getting infected or developing chronic illnesses. Pollution, poor sanitation, and improper housing can all contribute to ill-health in communities. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 9 out of 10 people worldwide live in places where air quality exceeds its standard guideline limits.
To reduce the risk of diseases in your community, work with your local officials to improve the living conditions of the people. Some ways to do this are by:
- installing filter plants to ease access to clean and safe drinking water
- facilitating coordination between public housing and social services so more people can live in homes
- creating job opportunities to improve their quality of life
- educating the public regarding basic hygiene practices and their importance
3. Promote physical activity
Because of the escalating use of automobiles, an aging population, and unplanned urbanization, physical inactivity is quickly becoming a leading public health concern. This trend is prevailing in low- and middle-income communities and is highly problematic because of its impact on community health.
Research shows immobility can put individuals at a greater risk for chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and obesity and decreases life expectancy. Moreover, the WHO has also named it the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. These facts highlight the importance of physical activity and its urgent need in the community. When people become active, a lower percentage of the population is at risk of getting ill, decreasing the burden on healthcare and other systems.
You can encourage physical activity in the community by implementing strategies like:
- designing activity-friendly routes
- making exercise opportunities accessible
- installing community playgrounds
- promoting sports leagues and athletic competitions
4. Encourage healthy eating
Food and dietary habits have the most prominent link with the leading causes of death in the United States. Studies show that heart diseases, diabetes, and some types of cancer affect prognosis based on a patient’s eating routine. Since everyone’s obsessed with getting things done fast, most people want to eat meals on the go or ones that require minimum effort. Therefore, processed or frozen food companies and fast-food chains have grown significantly in just the past few decades.
Luckily, this is a solvable problem. You can encourage healthy eating in your community by promoting health campaigns in schools or restructuring certain businesses like grocery stores. For example, school meal programs can provide children from low-income backgrounds with healthy and nutritious foods that can help them sustain their strength. You can also encourage your corner store to keep fresh fruits and vegetables to encourage more people to eat organic and well-balanced meals.
5. Increases access to quality healthcare and services
One of the biggest obstacles some people must face is the variety of access barriers to receiving quality healthcare. In an ideal world, residents of a community should be able to conveniently enlist the services of primary care, emergency care, dental care, or behavioral health. However, whether it’s due to lack of medical insurance, health illiteracy, stigma, or poor infrastructure, inequality in access exists even today. Despite all the advancements and improvements in medicine in the past few decades, many people are still getting sick simply because they cannot utilize the relevant resources.
If you can enhance the number of people having access to standard-of-care services, you can bring down the percentage of health concerns by a significant proportion. Although this is a crucial step in improving community health, it might also be the most challenging. Solicit the help of government officials, hospital management, and community leaders to strategize ways of crossing these hurdles and making healthcare accessible for all.
Identify the needs of your population and implement strategies that can best cater to their problems. The health and safety improvement program may differ for every community, depending on its particular circumstances, health concerns, resources, and capacities.
You must recognize this process as an ongoing one that must evolve based on emerging problems and understandings instead of posing only a one-stop solution.
Umar Nisar was born and raised in the busy city of Abbottabad. As a journalist, Umar Nisar has contributed to many online publications including PAK Today and the Huffing Post. In regards to academics, Umar Nisar earned a degree in business from the Abbottabad UST, Havelian. Umar Nisar follows the money and covers all aspects of emerging tech here at The Hear Up.
How to Prepare for a Long-Distance Move
More than 27,059,000 people move each year, whether traveling across the state or the country. Regardless of when you’re preparing for a long-distance move, there are several things you’ve got to be aware of ahead of time.
We’ve created a checklist that you can use full of packing tips and other things you need to know, like the importance of hiring movers to aid in the big move. The more prepared you are, the easier and more stress-free the move will be.
Get ready to settle into your new home after you check out these need-to-know packing tips below.
When moving to NY from California, you need to plan ahead. You need to do this to get everything in order, such as shutting off the utilities and turning it on at the new location before you’re scheduled to arrive.
The last thing you want to do is risk arriving at your new place and not having running water or working electricity when you get there. Another reason you want to plan ahead is that if you’ve decided to hire movers, you’ll need to coordinate the day they plan to pick up your items and deliver them to the new house.
Again you don’t want to arrive at your home and the movers not arrive with your items on the day you expect them to. Not only does this leave you without your necessities, but it could also mean you pay additional delivery fees that you’d not planned for.
If it helps, you could make a list of everything you need to do before you are set to move. We recommend making this list ahead of time so that you don’t feel rushed at the last minute to get everything completed.
Moving lots of items a long distance can be tricky, especially if you’re not used to driving a moving truck. Before you’re set to move, make a list of the best movers in your area.
You can do this by creating a list of mover names and estimates from your area. Ensure you have them clarify what you’re paying for because most rental companies provide a specific number of miles locally and out of state that could increase your overall rental price.
You’ll also want to inquire about the insurance needed to schedule movers to come and help transport your items. Ensure you get the estimates for each type of vehicle they offer.
When the move is complete, the larger the vehicle and the more movers you need, the higher the rental price. Once you’ve decided which moving company you’re going to work with, take the next steps to set your reservation.
If you’re making the appointment over the phone, ask the company to send you a confirmation email once the phone call has concluded. This will ensure you have tangible evidence of your appointment reservation just in case something comes up the day of the move where you need to contact the moving company.
When you move a long distance, it’s in your best interest to only pack the items you need and discard items you no longer use. The best way to do this is to take some time to declutter your home before you begin packing.
Make a pile of the items you need to get rid of, whether that means donating or discarding them accordingly. While it might prove to be a time-consuming process, in the long run, it will pay off when you don’t have to do these things while unpacking in your new home.
This is especially true if you’re downsizing and don’t have enough room to store all the items that you have currently in your home or apartment. Another reason to declutter your home is so that you can effectively determine how much packing material you need to pack, such as boxes and packing tape.
Check your local area for packing items because there are several places online where people want to get rid of their extra boxes for free. This can help you to save on packing expenses.
When you move into your new place, the last thing you want to happen is for essential items to be mailed to your previous email. This means you need to take the steps necessary to forward your mail to your new address, which can be done online via the united states postal service website.
When forwarding your mail, ensure you list the names of everyone moving and the address of the new home. Then you will need to specify a date when you want the mail to begin being sent to the new location.
Along with forwarding your mail, you need to remember to change the address on other government documentation, such as:
- Car registration
- Drivers license
- Voter registration
When you don’t place your new address on these documentation forms, completing other things you need to complete after you’ve moved can become challenging.
When you’re moving a long distance, the last thing you want to do is travel back to your previous residence to take care of things that should’ve been completed before the move.
When preparing for a long-distance move, you need to know several things, such as ensuring you forward your mail ahead of time. You should also remember to schedule movers and request estimates to help move your belongings from one place to another.
If you want to know more about this topic, continue to scroll through the posts in this section.
Khalil ur Rehman is a proud born and raised in Abbottabad. Khalil has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Yahoo News and The Verge. As a journalist for The Hear Up, Khalil covers climate and science news. [email protected]