6 Key Barriers to Implementation of Health Programs

health programs

Health programs are initiatives that help people lead healthier lives, eat better, get regular health screenings and vaccinations, get support to quit smoking or drinking too much, and more. Many of these programs are run by government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other programs are offered by private organizations, including schools, businesses, and community groups. Some programs are designed to provide access to healthy foods and affordable housing, help with mental illness, prevent gun violence, and support reproductive healthcare.

Many public health programs do not achieve their potential impact. The problems that cause this include limited and unstable funding, a lack of automatic means to track performance in real time, resource limitations, workforce limitations, and political commitment. Successful programs such as smallpox eradication, tobacco control, tuberculosis treatment, and polio eradication have overcome these barriers to implementation by effectively addressing 6 key areas: innovation to develop the evidence base for action; a rigorously established technical package of a limited number of high-priority, evidence-based interventions that together will have a major impact; effective management of the program, especially through real-time monitoring and evaluation to identify gaps in progress and facilitate improvement; partnerships with local, regional, and global private- and public-sector organizations; communication of accurate and timely information about the health benefits and threats that the program addresses to influence behavior change and engage civil society; and political commitment to obtain resources and funding for effective action.

The technical package must be focused and scalable. A program that includes every strategy with even a small chance of improving population health may prove to be too costly or unwieldy. In addition, attempting to include all approaches may result in strategies that are not effective, or for logistical, financial, or other reasons can not be implemented at the scale necessary for population impact.

Effective program implementation requires a broad range of tools and tactics, which must be tailored to the specific context. For example, community organizations may use educational materials and training programs for local residents to promote good nutrition, physical activity, and positive social connections. They may also work with local leaders to establish health-related policies and initiatives, such as community action plans, school health committees, and safe routes to school. They can also support the efforts of community health workers and promotores, who are trained to deliver and supervise the delivery of evidence-informed interventions for local populations. These health promotion and prevention programs can be delivered at the local, state, national, or international level. Similarly, government programs to reduce poverty, support families with children, and improve education can all help people live healthier lives. The role of the health promotion and disease prevention field is to identify needs, build capacity, and implement a range of interventions to address those needs. These programs can be delivered at the national, state, and local levels, in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors.

Previous post What Is Medical Treatment?
Next post The Challenges of Health Care Delivery