Sure Start [Name of Student] By [Name of Institution] [Date] Introduction In the execution of their duties to patients, health care professionals always employ certain systematic techniques to assess and review the health issues and circumstances surrounding the lives, health conditions and the well-being of individual patients or groups of patients…
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Health professionals should therefore equip themselves with the right guidelines before engaging in a Health Need Analysis/Assessment (HNA) exercise. Professionals in this context would refer to health care facilitators, strategic managers at regional, national and local levels and practitioners in the government, the voluntary, and community and primary care sectors. The disparities in the provision of health services in the modern society have been the driving force behind the drive to carry out health need analysis among disadvantaged populations (Wilkinson, 1994). In the contemporary society, most of the services or needs provided by the government through its various agencies are rather fragmented and unequally distributed. This situation has made the rush towards attaining a joined up thinking and collaboration by the stakeholders in the provision of services such as education, health and welfare-related services. Of particular interest in this regard is the health care sector, which faces a lot of challenges as far as the diverse patient needs are concerned. Consequently, there is a need to analyse the health needs of each patient or group of patients so that health care professionals may identify the best interventions for these patients or groups of patients (Cantor, 1995). The main objective of such strategies should be to avoid the exclusion of particular patients from the main stream population. That is, the health needs of all disadvantaged patients should be accorded equal effort to that of the general population. One of the most common strategies used by governments and health authorities to prevent health and other forms of seclusion of people in marginalized areas is the Sure Start intervention (BMA, 1999). This intervention targets patients/patient groups, more so children and families in socio-economically disadvantaged areas. This paper explores the subject of health needs analysis of children and families in disadvantaged areas, proposing the Sure Start intervention strategy for such a segment of the population. Elements of Health Need Analysis To formulate and implement a health need analysis of disadvantaged children, there are certain core elements that those involved should be conversant with and address conclusively. First, HNA must identify the unmet health care and health requirements of these children and their families so that only the interventions that would provide for such needs are formulated and implemented. In other terms, a HNA should serve to improve the health of children and families in disadvantaged areas by allowing for the effective planning of health service provision. Importantly, HNA should enable health care providers to set their priorities and develop their policies according to the health needs of the target patient or group of patient. It should be apparent by now that a HNA should not be implemented for the mere purpose of establishing the health status of disadvantaged children; rather, HNA seeks to improve the health of these children and their parents by emphasizing the concept of increasing the capacity of a patients to benefit from intervention strategies (Cunningham & Kemper, 1998). Regarding disadvantaged area
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