1 Public health on the ground
You start by exploring a group of public health-related projects in Coventry, England.
Activity 1 Health initiatives in Coventry, England
Watch the case study, Health initiatives in Coventry, England. Give yourself time to watch carefully as this is a large multidisciplinary project to promote public health in a complex city environment. You may need to look at the video more than once to complete the tasks below.
- Make a list of all the factors mentioned by people in Coventry that might influence health and ill-health.
- Make a list of the range of people involved in the Coventry initiatives and note down what their roles are.
Transcript: Health initiatives in Coventry, England
Coventry is a large city, with diverse communities.
Many factors influence health demands and the uptake of health provision.
Health promotion agencies put the needs of disadvantaged and hard-to-reach communities high on their agenda.
In Foleshill, Veena Singh is working with a local GP practice to improve women's health and wellbeing.
Many of the practice's female patients prefer to talk to Veena about sensitive health issues.
Her work is based very much within the local community.
Coventry's Health Development Unit also do outreach work at the Jesus Centre.
People who come to the morning drop-in are among the most disadvantaged in Coventry.
They might be homeless or unemployed, asylum-seekers or refugees, and may also have drug and alcohol problems.
In Coventry, outreach work also extends into schools.
These 15 year-olds are using a health promotion package called ‘Contraception: the board game’.
Najeeba doesn't always work with such mixed groups.
It helps if parents can be involved as well.
In Coventry, sexual health promotion extends to sex workers, a community that's much harder to reach.
How did you get on?
The health influences that I listed included: diet, smoking, sexual activity, domestic violence and poverty. They also included some more indirect barriers to health, such as lack of confidence, cultural and language barriers and lack of adequate access to services. In addition, there was mention of some existing health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which might be made worse by some of the factors already mentioned. For example, existing high blood pressure is likely to be exacerbated by heavy smoking or by the stress linked to inadequate service provision or barriers to access.
Did the range of people involved in the Coventry initiatives surprise you? Health, local council, voluntary bodies and volunteers all played a part. This indicates that promoting public health is complex and not confined to the health sector. Communities and lay people can be active co-workers – not just ‘patients’ or ‘clients’ to whom things are done. Indeed, as the study highlighted, communities may have different priorities to those of professionals.
Keep any notes you make for later reference.