National Health Policy – Virus Example

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"National Health Policy" is a perfect example of a paper on the virus. South African policy on HIV/AIDS for students and teachers continues to be an issue in community schools. AIDS is among the communicable diseases caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) (LouwI, 2014). HIV is transmitted largely through sexual contact among men and women. HIV/AIDS is one of the pressing problems affecting the entire South African population. The results of the 2008 HIV review of students in public schools and higher education revealed that the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa is among the worst in the world; it continues to grow at a startling pace.

This report will analyse the former national HIV/AIDS policy with the new policy and also how the new HIV/AIDS policy addresses the old policy's shortcomings. 2.0 Definition of the problem The rate of increase of HIV/AIDS is about 33.8%. Thus, it is anticipated that about one in eight of South Africa’ s sexually active people 14 years and older is currently infected (Mahajan, 2009). Educational attainment and greater life expectancy will be inexorably delayed due to these high rates of HIV-related illness and death, placing augmented pressure on students and teachers (Handler & Turnock, 2006).

The new policy has shown improved ways for educators to teach prevention of HIV transmission. Conversely, the old policy did not address this issue. The present paper seeks to answer two critical questions:  Does the country’ s education system favour the new policy?  Are there measures in place to reduce AIDS & HIV transmission and infection? 3.0 ObjectivesThere were different actors involved in formulating the policy. The Ministry of Education recognized the seriousness of the HIV pandemic; local and international research suggests that there was a great deal that could be done to ameliorate the problem (Muula, 2007).

Thus, under the new policy, the ministry is dedicated to lessening the economic, societal, and developmental effects of HIV on students, educators, and the education structure. The old policy tried to promote effective care and prevention in the framework of the public education structure. Power used with stakeholders in policy formulationDifferent stakeholders were involved in the formulation and implementation of the old policy, and each of the groups involved used their power differently.

Examples of this included the 1996 South African Schools Act, additional training and education programs, the Act of 1998, and other provincial laws. Institutions might also adopt and develop their own plans on HIV/AIDS to make maximum impact on the old national policy (Zungu, 2011). A variety of principles were used to formulate the old policy. The principle of human dignity was considered because all people deserve to have their dignity protected and respected (Muula, 2007). Under the old policy, the consultation process was not appropriate in scope or duration.

In comparison to the new policy on HIV/AIDS, the old one used full consultations. It is evident that different stakeholders were influenced positively or negatively by the policy. They were also involved in its formulation and implementation. By contrast, the ministry of education did not involve relevant people (students and educators) about the policy, even though they were the ones affected directly. Lack of student involvement was one of the old policy's problems. By contrast, the new health policy involved students in its formulation, as well as a majority of the different stakeholders (Thaver, 2009). Information used in the formulation of the policyThe new policy used information on the prevailing condition of the country for its formulation.

Most of this information consisted of statistics on the growing number of HIV cases among young people. According to a 2008 report by UNAIDS on worldwide AIDS prevalence, approximately 5.7 million young South Africans were infected with HIV in 2007 (Allan, 2008). The South African administration tried to handle the pandemic in different ways, including intensifying education for youth on both sexual behaviour and HIV/AIDS.

Other information came from the ministry of education. The ministry without incorporating relevant stakeholders enriched the policy for educators and students. As a result, there was less success under the old policy. The old policy was also inadequately financed given the policy objectives. However, the new policy's framework allows for adequate resources. Lack of funds made it difficult to implement the old policy (Shiffman, 2011). In addition, the social and economic disparities among citizens had a negative effect on tutors’ capacity to adequately deliver in their roles; as different social setting demand a different approach.

4.0 MethodologyIn the present study, the triangle model for health policy will be used for analysis because it compares the strengths and weaknesses of both the old and new policies. Also, the analysis will look at how stakeholders have addressed the weaknesses of the old policy. 5.0 FindingsWeaknesses of the policyThe new policy was implemented as intended despite numerous challenges. One of the weaknesses revealed in the old policy was the lack of adequate resources for implementation (Muula, 2007). Most educators were not themselves trained to carry out the required training; lack of resources resulted in this lack of information.

Despite this, the impact of their education was not as anticipated because most did not have relevant information. Similarly, the policy neither showed how to implement nor who would implement the policy. A new or reformed policy would give educators a platform for adequate training and would empower educators to carry out their duties effectively. As a result of all these things, the new policy has led to a reduction in cases of HIV and AIDS in comparison to the old policy's results (Handler & Turnock, 2006). Strengths of the policyThe overall impact of the old policy on HIV/AIDS education caused concern to the administration of South Africa; they wanted to decrease the transmission of HIV /AIDS and support positive sexual behaviour among youth (Zungu, 2011).

Using research findings, the new policy was able to address cases of young people with HIV/AIDS. By contrast, the old findings were not based on research but rather on the assumptions of the individuals involved in policy formulation.

There were incidences of reduced cases of HIV/AIDS among youth as a result of the old policy's implementation. Another strength of the old policy was incorporating different stakeholders in implementation (Thaver, 2009), including educators and students. Under the new policy, stakeholders that oversaw the successes of the old policy have been empowered with resources to carry out their mandate. Under the old policy, the nation had an adult HIV/AIDS occurrence rate of 17.3% in 2011. There were 310,000 AIDS-related deaths that year with over 1.9 million orphans created as a result (LouwI, 2014).

Under the new policy, the prevalence rate has been drastically reduced. EvaluationThere was no comprehensive evaluation of the old policy; most researchers pointed out that the government should re-evaluate it, because of its many problems. The current policy on HIV/AIDS education has addressed issues that were not covered (Allan, 2008). One example is the new policy that has an education syllabus that emphasizes identifying and improvement of talents among students. The syllabus had an outline showing healthy lifestyles as well as healthy behaviours. It also focused on training learners how to create good relationships with each other, to have good self-esteem, to respect their bodies, and to improve communication skills and informed decision making (Thaver, 2009). Comparison with the new policyIn contrast to the new policy, under the old policy teachers found it challenging to implement the life skills curriculum, in part because it faced strong resistance amongst religious parents (Shiffman, 2011).

This is because the traditional view is that sex education is a private affair, and it should not be included in public education.

The new policy addresses challenges faced by educators and other stakeholders involved in its implementation (Muula, 2007). ConclusionThe old national policy on HIV/AIDS for students and teachers in community schools addressed cases of the disease in South Africa. Despite this policy, the trend in cases of HIV and AIDS did not reduce as anticipated by the old policy's creators. Many of the policy's stakeholders were not consulted during the formulation process. One major weakness of the old policy was inadequate resources for implementation. However, the new policy has guidelines to secure its implementation.

Lack of resources to implement old policy translated into teachers not having adequate information. RecommendationsOne recommendation is that education should be started early, as most children are engaging in sexual behaviour at an early age. Another is that the government should increase funding to empower relevant stakeholders to carry out their duties. Educators should be trained and updated on emerging issues. Also, regarding other health policies related to HIV and AIDS, all stakeholders involved in the implementation process should be engaged in the formulation process. The media should also be involved in the education process; they should educate youth on how to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.

References

Allan, B. (2008). National health policy. Retrieved from HESA: http://heaids.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/009-policy_framework_on_hiv_and_aids.p

Handler, I. M., & Turnock. (2006). Abstract. Retrieved from National Centre for Biotechnology Information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1446752/

LouwI, J. (2014). SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online. SciELO. Retrieved from Scientific Electronic Library Online: http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?pid=S0256-01002009000200004&script=sci_arttext

Mahajan, S. P. (2009). National policy. Retrieved from National Centre for Biotechnology Information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835402/

Muula, A. (2007). HIV prevalence among young women in South Africa. Retrieved from National Centre for Biotechnology Information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2443629/

Shiffman, J. (2011). 'Doing' health policy analysis: methodological and conceptual reflections and challenges. Retrieved from Health Policy and Planning: http://heapol.oxfordjournals.org/content/23/5/308.full

Thaver, L. (2009). Sexual and HIV/AIDS education in South African secondary schools | Open society initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA). Retrieved from Sexual and HIV/AIDS Education in South African Secondary Schools | Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA): http://www.osisa.org/buwa/south-africa/sexual-and-hivaids-education-south-african-secondary-schools

Zungu, N. (2011). National health policy. Retrieved from Analysis of health policy: http://www.education.gov.za/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=4Zkp3PXlC00%3D&tabid=422&mid=1261

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