Health Based Initiatives
Rates of both coronary heart disease and diabetes are higher in the most deprived section of the population, with rates decreasing gradually as deprivation decreases. Risk factors such as body mass index, cholesterol and blood pressure are also persistently higher amongst low income social classes. The social gradient is also evident in mental health. Levels of depression and admissions to psychiatric hospital are also higher among less affluent socio-economic groups. Mental health problems are also related to deprivation, poverty, inequality and other social and economic determinants of health.
ICON has been successfully running Health Promotion Events in the NEIC since 2007. Research has reported difficulty with appointment based systems, where usually the most in need of services struggle to engage in a more formal way. The community based health promotion events are a way to draw regional and national services to the area to provide care in a localised, informal manner. These events are targeted specifically at hard to reach populations. For some people this may be their only health check-up within the year. We have a number of people who return to the event every year to get their health check. We have seen an increase in the numbers attending every year.
Agencies invloved: Irish Heart Foundation, HIV Ireland, Diabetes Ireland, Irish Cancer Society, Asthma Society of Ireland, The Health Research Team, HSE Mental Health Team, Slimming World, North Inner City Drug & Alcohol Task Force, Saol Project, Hepatitis C Project, Hands on Peer Education, The Family Support Network, Hill Street Family Resource Centre, Shine, First Forthnight, The Adventure Project, Dublin Wellness Centre, HSE Public Health Nurses, Irish Red Cross
The ICON Health Action Forum was set up in 2007 following from an ICON Conference in Killarney. At the conference it was recommended that a health forum be set up in the community that would be made up of local community organisations and individuals to enable them to exercise their right to participate in health and service development.
‘The ICON Health Action Forum is comprised of local community organisations and individuals living and working in the North East Inner City, who are exercising their right to participate in health and service development’.
Aims of the Health Action Forum:
- To help the community to improve their own health and services through raising awareness and creating dialogue on health matters among community groups and with health services.
- To positively influence the health of the population through gathering of relevant data and information.
- To enable the community to make informed choices through access to appropriate health information and intelligence.
- To work with the statutory agencies in developing strategies to improve access to health services.
- To ensure the rights of the community to be consulted at local level regarding their health needs through representative community groups.
- To ensure that services for the community are appropriate, responsive to local needs, accessible and delivered in a manner that respects their privacy, dignity and individuality.
- To facilitate the most appropriate delivery of the Primary Health Care Strategy for the ICON area.
The ICON Health Action Forum developed a number of initaitves to help build community capactiy and engagment in seeking to positively influence the health of the NEIC community.
1. The proposed development of a new Primary Health Care Facility on the Mountainview Court site in Summerhill presented an opportunity to engage in health based research in the NEIC.
In line with the Primary Health Care Strategy (2001), the planning and provision of Primary Health Care Services should be informed by a comprehensive health needs
assessment. A health needs assessment had not been carried out in the NEIC. In the absence of any comprehensive health needs assessment, the ICON Health Forum undertook a community consultation in order to provide an opportunity for the NEIC community to identify their health needs and to identify the range of services that should be provided within this new facility. The community consultation process was undertaken within the NEIC in April/May 2008 with a broad range of population groups and special interest groups including children, young people, women, men, older people, residents’ group, new communities, people with problem drug use, people who are homeless and people with disabilities. A copy of that report is available here.
2. The Participatory Research and Action programme (PRA) initiated in 2010 was one part of the process which seeks to address community participation on health needs in Dublin North East Inner City area. This programme is based on the premise that the most meaningful solutions result from understandings shared between people who experience health inequalities and those who are involved in the delivery of a variety of services which exist to address them.
The results of the programme and accompanying research can be found here.