Ethnicity and Culture in Disease Prevention

12 December 2016

Importance of addressing race, ethnicity, and culture when developing programs for prevention of disease Name: Subject: Instructor: Date: The campaigns against diseases have a number of times botched as a result of non-recognition of environmental, biological and behavioral factors as major determinants as of individual health. In public health, the three terms (ethnicity, race and culture) are often used interchangeably. The implementation of disease prevention programs in a community requires full knowledge of the health status of its members.

With this regard, racial and ethnical categories often define populations in a manner that is meaningful to their health status (Nnakwe, 2009, p. 337). The concept of race, ethnicity and culture plays a significant role in understand human behavior. Thus it is rational to incorporate the aspect of race, culture and ethnicity a when designing disease prevention programs in communities. For instance, designing a disease prevention program require the use of social ecological framework.

The framework focuses on interactions between an individual’s physical, cultural and social setting and thus it may be the only necessary move in a fight against disease in an ethnic group. In this case, the knowledge about a disease should not only be transferred but also needs to be cultivated thought peer support, supportive social norms and cultural values. Consider a case where the government decides to put up a facility for provision of free condoms at the core of a very conservative community as part of a program for prevention of HIV/Aids. Will such a program receive support from the community?

Of course not as this will be taken as a violation of the community’s cultural values since it may lead to moral decay among its members. Therefore cultural values of a community must be addressed and prevention programs should be aligned with those values. Health care providers need to train on cultural competency in order to understand barriers and influence of culture and society on health behaviors as well as the use of behavior change tools that are culturally sensitive. Ethnicity /race may also affect, directly or indirectly, the success of a disease prevention program in a community, e. . cultural beliefs about HV/Aids (Edelman & Mandle 2005, p. 48). For example the risk of obesity starts at a person’s prenatal period. Race/ethnicity may therefore affect the prevention of obesity since it influence the timing of pregnancy, number of pregnancies together with intervals between pregnancies. In conclusion, the public health approach towards prevention of disease must into consideration culture, race and ethnicity within a social ecological framework as an effort towards sustaining a disease free society.

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