The health sector is important in existence and general growth of every community and nation as a whole. The state of health in a society is determined by various factors like income levels, literacy, and the availability of quality housing
Etobicoke Ward 1 is the furthest to the north in Toronto and has one of the lowest average household income levels of $66,001 as compared to Torontos average of $87,038. This can be closely associated with the high unemployment rate of 12.8% compared to Toronto average rate of 9.3%. The literacy levels in ward one are high with every 2 out of 10 people being illiterate. The state of housing in Etobicoke Ward 1 is not so good with a lot of people being homeless and require social housing. The quantity of individuals in need of social housing has been growing at a very high rate which the Toronto Community Housing Corporation is unable to keep up with. All the stakeholders including nurses, the community, and the government should work together to improve these conditions to promote health in Etobicoke Ward 1.
Nurses can start by identifying the relationship between low income, poor housing, and illiteracy and poor health and with these facts can strongly advocate for health promotion. Unemployment coupled with other factors has led to income inequality among the population in Etobicoke and the larger Toronto. It is observed that people with low incomes don't have access to quality healthcare. The area of Toronto has the highest income disparity in Canada, (Toronto Star,2012). According to Mathieu (2016), homelessness is a major problem in the whole of Toronto and should be addressed urgently. She points out that the problem of income inequality and the high cost of housing is the major cause. According to the Toronto Star, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation requires about over $750 million to renovate its aging houses (2012) to try and cater for the housing demand. Illiteracy is highly associated with health as uneducated people mostly have low incomes and also consequentially homeless and thus poor health. Mierins states that almost half of the Canadian adult population cannot read well (2014).
In their efforts to promote health in Toronto and specifically Etobicoke Ward 1, the nurses should engage in political advocacy by building healthy public policy, creating a supportive environment, and strengthen community action as per the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion.
Nurses can utilize various political advocacy methods for health promotion. With lobbying, the nurses can help the government understand that homelessness, poverty, and illiteracy hinder quality health for the public. For instance, the nurses could lobby for the allocation of enough resources to the Toronto Housing Corporation to enable them to fulfill their mandate in providing enough housing for the residents of Etobicoke Ward 1. The nurses could also use mainstream or social media to create social awareness about these issues and therefore creating public support. They can also advocate by directly involving the policymakers in the respective fields. They could use the Canadian Nurses Association and civil society to reach the government agencies and policymakers like the city council of Toronto and the ministry of housing and enlighten them on the issue. The nurses could also use a combination of the aforementioned political advocacy modes to ensure the promotion of health in Etobicoke Ward 1. With the political advocacy by the nurses, the highlighted conditions will be addresses and thus health advancement in Etobicoke Ward 1.
Mathieu, E. (2016). Homelessness viewed as 'severe' in Toronto: Poll | Toronto Star. thestar.com. Retrieved 28 February 2017, from https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/11/26/homelessness-viewed-as-severe-in-toronto-poll.html
Mierins, K. (2014). Canada's hidden literacy crisis - The UC Observer. Ucobserver.org. Retrieved 28 February 2017, from http://www.ucobserver.org/features/2014/12/literacy/
Toronto's Vital Signs Report 2012 | Toronto Star. (2017). thestar.com. Retrieved 28 February 2017, from https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/vitalsigns/2012/10/02/torontos_vital_signs_report_2012.html
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