Posts filed under ‘Public Health’
In honor of today’s Blog Action Day on poverty, here is a background on poverty and how social marketing can be applied, as I saw broken down by Philip Kotler himself at the World Social Marketing Conference.
Additionally, join over 40 of DC’s influential changemakers at Buffalo Billiards at DC’s 1st Changeblogger meetup. We will recognize and commemorate Blog Action Day, connect with Alex Steed’s social change tour, mingle and share re: living and working for positive change.
What is poverty?
In researching the answer to this question, I couldn’t escape the purpose behind a campaign by the Association of Public Health Schools and the Pfizer Foundation recently created called “What is public health?” This campaign works to better brand ‘public health’ to the public, while also raising awareness, education and encouraging participation in the public health conversation. Participants are asked to put red “This is public health stickers” on items that they feel represent public health. My challenge: What would this look like if the question: “What is poverty?” was asked?
Early Solutions to Poverty
Kotler listed 4 early solutions to poverty: alms programs, workhouses for the poor, deficit financing and economic development. With these solutions, four major strategies reveal themselves to reduce poverty:
- Economic Growth Strategy
- Redistribution Strategy
- Massive Foreign Aid
- Population Control
As Kotler continued to outline, he stated the “Two Main Thrusts” used to alleviate poverty are population control (from contraceptive campaigns, to abortions, education of women, industrialization to passing laws restricting the number of children) and improving the support of povert-escaping behavior. This umbrellas micro finance and empowerment, education and health programs.
As part of the Millennium Goals, the World Bank and the United Nations have 8 goals and 17 targets to alleviate poverty (Kotler). One goal is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by:
- Cutting in half the proportion of people whose income is less than a $1 a day.
- Halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
Everyone hears we need to solve poverty, but my eyes were widened as to WHY we need to solve hunger. And, this goes beyond the humanity of reasons, but puts some more solid evidence to the issue. Kotler spoke of these 6 reasons:
- Sympathy and compassion about wasted lives.
- Poverty drives some poor people into crime and terrorism.
- Poor are more prone to health problems and spreading of disease.
- Poor are more likely to follow demogogues.
- Poor nations can collapse into “failed states” that cannot pay their foreign debt.
- The poor are an untapped trillion dollar market opportunity.
Why Social Marketing?
Kotler, along with social marketing expert Nancy Lee, both are literally writing the book answering this part of the poverty question. I personally can’t wait for the book to come out because I truly believe that social marketing provides the right tools for us to solve global issues such as poverty. In the presentation, Kotler identified a 6-part framework as to how social marketing can be applied to the poverty issue. However, in the book, a larger and more developed framework is offered, as well as further context of the issue.
So, back to the challenge. How would you answer this question: What is poverty?
“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. Unsafe water and inadequate sanitation kills nearly TWO MILLION people each year, mostly children under the age of five.”
One of my responses to the Changeblogger meme was to get more involved and educated around issues surrounding clean water and access to water. Here is one step towards that goal.
September 26, marks the 100th Year of Safe Water according to the American Chemistry Council, and we can help continue and supply safe drinking water to others.
- 100 years ago, Jersey City became the first U.S. cities to routinely chlorinate municipal drinking water supplies. Over the next decade, more than a thousand U.S. cities adopted chlorination, helping to dramatically reduce infectious diseases.
- Today, about 9/10 U.S. public water systems rely on chlorine in some form for safe drinking water.
- Chlorine can destroy disease-causing microorganisms.
- Chlorine removes many unpleasant tastes and odors, as well as certain metal contaminants like iron and manganese.
- Chlorine also providedes a residual level of disinfectant to keep water safe while in transport from the plant to a consumer’s water tap.
- U.S. CDC calls drinking water chlorination “one of the most significant public health advances in US history.” In that same vein, in 1997, LIFE magazine hailed the filtration and chlorination of drinking water as “probably the most significant public health advancement of the millennium.”
- Drinking water chlorination has helped to virtually eliminate waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever, and played a major role in increasing Americans’ life expectancy from 47 years in 1900 to 78 years in 2006.
- Where piped water supplies are not available, simple techniques to disinfect and safely store water in individual households can dramatically reduce waterborne disease. A recent study by the WHO found that household-based chlorination is the most cost-effective way to reduce these waterborne illnesses.
Call to Action :: Disinfect 100 liters of Water with 1 Click
For starters, we can partake in ACC’s Clean Water Challenge Quiz. For every correct answer, the ACC with support from others, will donate $0.20 (up to a total of $200,000) to support household water chlorination programs in West Africa.
Your 1 Correct Answer + $0.20 = the cost of five chlorine tablets –> designed to disinfect 100 liters of water!
The Downside of Chlorine
- Some environmentalists urge that chlorine is a short-term solution arguing that cleaning up our rivers, lakes and streams is more sustaining
- Some health researchers argue that with all the benefits of adding chlorine (such as decreased Typhoid cases), there may be side effects of other increased health problems.
- Some say that Canada and Europe have switched from using chlorine to using ozone to ensure safe water. A handful of U.S. cities like Las Vegas practice this as well.
- Before using tap water, leave the water uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours for the chlorine to leave the water.
- Invest in a filtration system (which I have heard debates on this issue as well).
- Practice recycling and treat our water resources with care.
I would have to agree that I want us to find long-term, sustainable ways to have clean water and to increase water accessibility to others. I think as a base-line, we can all start by educating ourselves and learning more about where our water comes from and how we are impacted.
What’s your experience?
I admit I’m no expert, and invite the discussion here in the comments. If you have more ways to get involved in the accessibility to safe water issue, please post in the comments, as it’s an issue I’m increasingly educating myself on as well. Thank you!
According to a January 2008 study titled How America Searches, Health and Wellness:
- In the past 12 months, 59% of adults reference the internet to find or access health and wellness information.
- 67% of adult searchers use general search engines as an online tool or resource for health information and only 7% referred to online drug advertisements.
- 36% of adult searchers use online health information to see what other consumers say about a medication or treatment
Because of statistics like those above, the concept of ‘Health 2.0’ has increased its usage and importance. Simply, Health 2.0 = the merging of social media into healthcare. However, others see the movement of Health 2.0 as something much wider and farther reaching. Even Google image searching shows a variety of more complex definitions. I’d be interested to see how you all define it for yourselves or for your practice.
Examples of Health 2.0
- Carol.com , started in 2006, is the marketplace for care, allowing hospitals and providers to ‘bid’ for consumers’ care
- Vitals.com, allows patients to review their current doctor’s or a potential doctor’s reviews and ratings
- DoubleCheckMD, allows consumers to check for potential drug interactions quickly and easily
- American Well , creates a healthcare marketplace where consumers and physicians come together online to acquire and provide convenient and immediate healthcare services
- WiserWiki, a medical and healthcare information wiki edited exclusively by physicians
- Clinfo Wiki, a wiki devoted to clinical informatics
- Ask Dr. Wiki, allows those with a medical background to publish review articles, clinical notes, pearls and/or medical images to the wiki. The main focus has been on Cardiology and Electrophysiology, but they have expanded to other areas.
- DiabetesMine, a blog all about diabetes
- HealthMatters (Healthline), a collection of weblogs by professionals, covering different aspects of health, wellness, treatments, and recent advances
- WebMD, provides health and health-related information
- OrganizedWisdom, the first human-powered search service for health information
- PatientsLikeMe, find patients who are receiving the same or similar treatments
- DailyStrength, helps one find support groups
- Sermo, a community for physicians to share information, questions and observations amongst themselves, encouraging collaboration
- ReliefinSite, helps with pain managemnt
- ICYou, the source of healthcare videos and videos related to health information
- Cleveland Clinic on Google Video
- TauMed, a virtual health community where one can search and share information on a variety of health topics
- Johns Hopkins Medical Podcasts
- NIH Podcasts
- NY Times Health Pocasts
- CDC Travelers Health
- dLife podcasts for diabetes, information and inspiration for those with diabetes
Health 2.0 researchers warn that patients should be cautious about posting personal health-related information through unsecured social media as health insurance providers could gain access to this information, as well as potential employers.
Social Media combined with health information, patients and user-generated content can be used for:
- User-generated health ratings for hospitals and doctors
- Bridge the gap between doctor and patient
- Bring communities together in new, innovative ways
- Establishing patients as opinion leaders
- Managing health and managing community health in new ways
For specific case studies and more information, view this report titled: The Wisdom of Patients: Health Care Meets Online Social Media prepared for the California Healthcare Foundation by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn.
Questions to Ponder
- Is Health 2.0 helpful or harmful?
- Is the content trustrworthy? Does it matter? Will consumers take the information at face value?
- Why are patients labeled as consumers? What does this mean/say about how health 2.0 is being approached?
- What are the ethical concerns?
- What are the privacy concerns?
Can’t wait to read your insights in the comments. =)