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The Healthy People 2020 Initiative

Healthy People 2020 is an American government initiative that provides national objectives for improving the health state of all Americans. This initiative has provided a benchmark over the last three decades with an aim to encourage collaboration between different communities, by empowering and educating individuals on informed health decisions, and evaluate the level of disease prevention activities.

As it was above mentioned, the Healthy People 2020 initiative has its basic objectives outlined. The first objective is identifying national wide health improvement priorities among different communities living in different areas. The second objective is to increase the level of public awareness and understanding of good health, diseases, disability and the opportunities for progress. This initiative also aims at providing measurable objectives and goals which can be applicable at both national and state levels to monitor the health status of a nation. Also, it tries to engage multiple sectors in collaborating and taking actions that strengthen the policies and practices that promote good health within the community. The Healthy People 2020 initiative is also responsible for identifying the critical research and data collection needs, when it is required.

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The Healthy People 2020 initiative has four main goals. One of the goals is to attain high quality and longer life duration free from injuries, disabilities and prevent premature deaths within the American population. The other goal is to achieve heath equity, eliminate differences and improve the health of all population groups, regardless of people’s different statuses. Creating a physical and social environment that promotes good health for the population at large is also a part of the initiative’s goals. It would be especially important to mention that the initiative attempts to attain the quality of life, promote healthy development programs and create awareness of healthy behaviors in all life stages.

The Healthy People 2020 leading heath indicators are subsets of the twenty-six  HP 2020 objectives, which indicate the highly prioritized health concerns, some of the topics on leading heath indicators being accessed to health services, injury and violence, reproduction and sexual health, substance and tobacco abuse, among others. The indicators have shown that there is a positive progress towards achieving the target of the initiative. In the year 2014, 53.9% of the indicators had either met their set target or shown at least some level of improvement. To be specific, 15.4% of these indicators have met or exceeded their targets, 38.5% of the indicators have significantly improved. 30.8% of the indicators had shown a slight or no detectable change, while 11.55% of the indicators showed no progress or even degraded (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2014). This shows that a noteworthy and recognizable progress has been made for most of the indicators.

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Miami Beach area zip code 33141 is located in Florida and covers slightly than average land in comparison with other cities. The city has a large population density. Most of the population living in the area is young adults, followed by middle aged individuals and seniors. Influenza is common among the population living in the area and affects the community, especially common it is among children. Other groups that experiences severe complications from influenza in Miami Beach are people aged sixty-five years and above, pregnant women and people with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes. The common flu being H1N1 flu strain and is also known as swine flu and H3N2. The flu tends to spread at a high rate due to the high population density in the Miami Beach area. This results in an increased death rate during the flu seasons/periods.

Influenza is one of the population-based communicable illnesses that affect the community. As mentioned above, Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness, which is caused by influenza viruses. The disease affects the respiratory system, ranging from the nose, throat and the lungs. The illness is spread at a time when individuals with the influenza virus cough or sneeze; then the virus may end up spreading to the people who were nearby. The Miami Beach, as it was earlier mentioned, has a high population density. Thus, the rate at which the influenza virus is spread is high mostly in schools and other areas, where close interaction among people can be observed. The disease is mostly affecting people aged 65 years and above, children, pregnant women and people with chronic disease symptoms.

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The other communicable illness affecting the community living in Miami Beach is HIV/AIDS. This is the major STD that is on the rise within the community, and it is common among young, heterosexual African-American males. According to the Florida Department of Health, there were twenty-six thousands seven hundred and sixty (26,760) people living with HIV/AIDS in Miami-Dade County in 2013, the black people represented 16% of the general population, which was diagnosed with AIDS. This is mainly attributed to poverty, prejudice, and stigma among the community, which makes testing and treatment difficult.

Hepatitis C is also another common illness affecting the community living in Miami. Hepatitis C causes infection of the liver and can cause adverse liver damage before it is recognized (Kwong, Kauffman, Hurter, & Mueller, 2011). It is spread through transmission of Hepatitis C virus through infectious blood fluids. According to the Center for Disease and Control, 1.8% of the 3.9 million American population are infected with this virus. This sees the mortality rate being high due to Hepatitis C related liver diseases. In Miami Beach, being an entertainment destination, many activities, such as tattooing, body piercing, sexual contact and intravenous drug use through injection are very common, which leads to blood/ fluid contact among those involved, promoting the transmission of Hepatitis C virus. The disease mostly affects people who inject illicit drugs, healthcare workers who may come into contact with infectious blood while working, and people who may have received an organ transplant or a blood transfusion.

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Chronic disease, such as influenza, HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis C are identified as common due to the high number of cases of patients recording positive results to the test. The cases are normally reported in the hospitals, laboratories, doctor’s offices and urgent care centers, where these patients report. After the case is reported, tests are carried out to ascertain the condition of the patient and determine whether they are infected with the respective virus.

Influenza, HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis C affect the community both socially and economically. The effects are most likely to have more impact during a pandemic, when most of the infected people in the population may end up losing their lives. The high mortality rate due to these illnesses leads to the loss of skilled people among the community. The loss of the skilled may leave the community in a desperate state due to the lack of skills to handle various tasks. Much of the resources are used in the vaccination and treatment of influenza, HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis C, rather than on other development plans.

There has been an establishment of the health access snapshot and hospitals, such as Miami Beach community Health Center the health center provides vaccination to prevent further spread of the virus, as well as the treatment of patients reported with such cases. The massive seasonal influenza vaccination is meant to prevent seasonal flu infections. The vaccines are normally administered to all persons from six months old and above at no cost.

Miami Beach community Hospital which was established to contain the situation has actively been involved in a fight against HIV through community education programs on HIV prevention and highly trained personnel offering services to everyone, regardless of their race, or religion, so any kind of discrimination is absent. This is in line with the Healthy People 2020 initiative, which aims at increasing public awareness and understanding about health and diseases.

Massive creation of awareness on the effects of intravenous drug injection and the negative effects it causes has been done. This ensured that policies that discourage use of drugs are implemented with ease, without much resistance from the community. These policies promote the creation of a social and physical environment, which promotes good health to the community at large, and which is one of the goals of the Healthy People 2020 initiative.

Also, there are health navigators and community health workers who are trained for primary care medical homes (Office of Countywide Healthcare Planning, 2012). These are professionals who know how to deal with chronic disease management and inpatient care. Also, they provide assistance in social service program enrollments.

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To check for the presence of Hepatitis C, there has been a thorough blood donor screening. This has ensured that cases of Hepatitis C virus transmission through blood transfusion are eliminated. The same case has been applied in organ transplant, where screening of organs is conducted before organ transplant is done to ascertain the condition of the organ and ensure the organ is free from Hepatitis C virus. Besides, there has been the promotion of testing and increased high-quality support services during diagnosis of Hepatitis C. This has helped to reduce stigma and discrimination in healthcare provision.

In conclusion, the Healthy People 2020 initiative has provided a platform that enables health agencies and the government organizations to monitor and assess the progress of health initiatives among the American population. The initiative has ensured the availability of information and data necessary for determining the strategies that should be emphasized to attain the set target.

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