EquitableHealth Care Position Statement
Theminister of health, the Permanent Secretary in the Department ofCardiovascular Disease Prevention and Treatment, the Governor ofWisconsin State, other distinguished guests, ladies and gentle thankyou for this golden chance to address you today. It is with greathonor that I present the facts about and the need to act urgently tosave the Alaska Aboriginal/ American Indian from the menace of heartdisease.
Butbefore that, let me begin by setting the scene. Health is afundamental human right, for every American child, woman, and man andthis is stipulated in our constitution. Human right is for everyAmerican citizens irrespective of their gender, sexual orientation,ethnic group, class, education, and race. Unfortunately, someminority groups continue to suffer from serious diseases with littleeffort being made to help them contain the situation. You will agreewith me that the neglection of such ethnic groups is what we can termas health care disparities.
Accordingto U.S. federal government, health care disparities is the obstinategaps between the health status of minority groups and non-minoritygroups. The National Partnership for Action, a principal branch ofthe Health and Human services department shows that even though therehave been sustained improvements in the health care and technology,ethnic and racial minorities still have more disability, prematuredeath, and diseases than non-minorities.
Onesuch group are American Indians and Alaska natives, particularlyabout the residence of Wisconsin State. These minority groups aremore prone to cardiovascular diseases than any other groups inAmerica, yet little has been done to contain this situation.According to American Indian and Alaska Native Heart Disease andStroke Fact Sheet (2016), cardiovascular disease is the leading causeof death among Alaska Natives and American Indians. The heartconditions resulted in about 3,288 deaths in 2014 alone.Cardiovascular disease is one of the primary cause of disability aswell as can destroy the quality of life of a person.
Ladiesand gentlemen, it would be appropriate to discuss brieflycardiovascular disease to allow us understand the issue I am soon toaddress fully.
Whatis a cardiovascular disease?
Heartdisease is defined as a set of conditions that adversely affect thebody vascular system. The cardiovascular system consists of series ofvessels responsible for the transportation of blood within the humanbody arteries and veins circulate blood in the body. The conditionsthat fall within the paradigm of cardiovascular disease includerheumatic, pulmonary embolism, cerebrovascular infection, deep veinthrombosis, coronary heart ailment and external arterial condition.Coronary heart disease is the most prevalent type of heart disease inAmerica. Coronary heart disease as a condition is often known as anischemic heart ailment, a condition in which cholesterol and otherharmful substances accumulate in the arteries. With increasedaccumulation of these substances, atherosclerosis, the complete orpartial blockage of the flow of blood occur. The dislodgment ofplaque would lead to the clotting of blood around the arteries thusobstructing the flow of blood to the heart. Due to this, a personsuffers a heart attack or myocardial infection. A coronary heartcondition can also cause chest pain or angina, which will eventuallyweaken the heart muscles and this will mostly likely cause heartfailure. Atherosclerosis is also associated with peripheral arterialdisease, which is blocking or narrowing of blood vessels. However,unlike the coronary heart infection, the vessels affected are mostlyin the lower extremities (American Indian and Alaska Native HeartDisease and Stroke Fact Sheet, 2016).
Onthe same note, my dear friends, brothers and sisters, let us discussbriefly the demographic of the Alaska Native/ American Indian. I amcertain, that may be some of us here, have limited knowledge aboutthis minority group.
Accordingto the American community Survey, about 5.2 people in US are AlaskaNative or American Indian. The United Sates Census Bureau revealsthat Alaska Native or American Indian community is one of the U.S.community growing at an alarming rate, a rate faster than that of thetotal population. Between the year 2000 and 2010, this minority grouppopulation rose by 26.7% (Design: ASD, 2016).
Factsabout Cardiovascular disease among American Indian/Alaska Natives
Heartdisease inexplicably affects Alaska/American Indians Natives whencompared with other groups in America. The mortality rates of heartcondition are 20% higher for Alaska/ American Indians Natives thanfor all ethnic group in America. The latest study indicates that thepopulation of this minority group living in Wisconsin State are moreprone to heart disease and recorded the highest infection rate in theUnited States. Besides, the research showed that Age-adjusted deathrates for all ailments of the heart, circulatory system arterialcondition, heart attack, and ischemic heart disease were higher forAlaska Natives than for Black Americans, whites, or any other groupsor races in America. The mortality rates for Aboriginal due tohypertensive diseases are about 22% higher than any other races, and28% greater than in American whites (American Indian and AlaskaNative Heart Disease and Stroke Fact Sheet, 2016). However, the totalnumber of this minority group reporting hypertension diagnosis is thesame to that of all races and whites. In fact, many cases of heartdisease among this population go unreported. In addition to reportingthe highest mortality rates because of heart disease, AlaskaAboriginals/American Indian report the highest risk factors relatedto the heart disease development. Other risks factors which theaboriginal American Indian especially those living in Wisconsin Stateare more prone to than other races in America include obesity,tobacco smoking, overweight, lack of physical activities, anddiabetes. This minority community really need health support andeducation to help them fight the menace.
Theposition of the Nursing Organizations about the issue
Nurseleaders, which is the top National nursing organizations, recognizethe importance and the need to have a culturally diverse nurse staffand the need to offer quality and culturally competentpatient-centered care. Nurse leaders are of the opinion that there isurgent need to attract students from underrepresented groups innursing such as the Alaska Indigenous, Asian, Hispanic, AmericanIndian, and African American. This group need urgent attention andtherefore, there is a need for more healthcare personals andresources to be pumped to this region to prevent the rising cases ofheart disease. The nursing leaders hold that all American citizensare entitled to quality health care irrespective of their race,socio-economic status, age, gender, and even sexual orientation.There is also need for the construction of additional cardiovasculardisease diagnosis and treatment center in various parts of Wisconsinto help with early diagnosis as well as treatment for these natives.
Myposition on the Matter is as follows:
Identifying the load of an ailment within Aboriginal communities will present a unique set of problems, which should be addressed to guarantee definitive collection and analysis of data for Alaska aboriginal/American Indian.
Data for Alaska aboriginals/American Indian are quite lacking and less reliable than for other population groups in America. Sample sizes are often too trivial for inclusion interpretive heart disease signs could not be explored due to this. Prevention and intervention efforts are needed to minimize the disease burden that the Alaska
Indigenous/American Indian experience and access to data that is of high quality is mandatory to guarantee the fulfillment of the effort. As a nurse, it is my duty and responsibility to serve all people without any bias and participate in community health education programs as well as advocate for health equity for marginalized groups in America. Without your effort, it will be difficult for these people to get justice. I, therefore, plead with all stakeholders including health officials, the Governor, and the community to work collectively to reduce heart disease prevalence among this minority group.
There is an urgent need for the recruitment of more faculty from minority groups in America to help bridge the existing health gap. Now, there are few nurses from marginal ethnic groups in the US with advanced nursing degrees. Most of the heart diseases in American Indian go undetected for a long time because there is limited healthcare personnel to help with the job. Encouraging more of students from this ethnic group to pursue nursing and medical related courses would help the community to become aware of the disease menace. In addition, these nurses would come back to their communities after graduation, to offer them health education programs as well as quality healthcare. Therefore, I advocate for the development of a detailed, long-term action plan that is focused on need, evidence-based, and can address the existing inequalities in health care services in particular among the ethnic minority groups to achieve equality in healthcare.
Ifinally conclude by urging all of us to rise and help this minoritygroup. Heart disease is a traumatizing condition and always havelong-term damage to both the families and the country at large.Everyone is equal before God as well as the law of our great land. Wedeserve quality life, quality health care, clean water, housing andother human basic commodities. Other nations and continents knowAmerica as the ‘land of opportunity.’ It will be an irony if wesit down and watch our brothers and sisters from the minority groupssuffer from heart disease without doing anything. Before I finish,let me leave you with this quote by Dr. Martin Luther King ‘Of allthe forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shockingand inhumane.` We can only be human if we help these underprivilegedgroups.
Thankyou and May God bless you all.
AmericanIndian and Alaska Native Heart Disease and Stroke Fact Sheet. (2016,August 16). Retrieved September 16, 2016, fromhttp://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_aian.htm
Design:ASD, R. (2016). AmericanIndian and Alaska Native Main – U.S. Census Bureau.Census.gov.Retrieved 16 September 2016, from http://www.census.gov/aian/