Ending Hunger and Improving Nutrition in At Risk Populations

Author: Lauren Patneau

While in Chester I noticed that there were cafes, grocery stores, and small markets all over the city.  Everywhere we went there seemed to be options to eat.  It made me think about the food deserts all over the United States.  Entire communities that do not have access to fresh food.  In 2015 the United Nations created a list of seventeen goals to be completed by 2030.  The aim of these goals was to improve our world.  Each goal had indicators to outline what it meant to complete the goal.  The second Sustainable Development Goal addresses ending hunger across the world and improving nutrition in at risk populations.  Across Chester I could see the indicators for this goal.  There are small local stores all of which offer fresh food at reasonable prices and the grocery stores are placed all around the community so everyone has access.  They also have food pantries and community events where people can come get free meals.  Nursing plays an important role in identifying who is at risk for malnutrition.  We provide a lot of education and resources to families on how to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need.  However, just because we give a patient information on what they should eat does not mean they have access to this kind of food.  That is why I was really impressed by Chester’s access to non-processed food.  When the nurses counsel their patients on healthy eating choices they can reference the local places that carry all this food.

I also got to see the importance of the nurses education role first hand while shadowing a nurse who was performing home visits to check on moms and babies.  At each appointment she talked about common areas where kids and moms lack nutrition and how they could prevent them.  At several visits the nurse discussed vitamins and how moms could ensure both their own and their babies diets were rich in vitamins.  This included the use of supplements, which all new moms received after giving birth.  On one visit in particular we discussed the benefits of giving young children whole milk versus a lower fat milk with a mom.  The nurse provided important information to the mother about why the higher fat milk was more beneficial to her child’s growth and development.  The nurses focus on educating families was an effective strategy for improving the populations health and fighting malnutrition.

 

Accessibility of Health Education

Author: Maddie Fickes 

While I have just recently arrived in England, I have already been exposed to many parts of their healthcare system and the positive impact that it has within the Chester community.  As in the United States, nurses and other professionals strive to promote a holistic approach when taking care of their patients.  I had the opportunity to join a Health Visitor Nurse Specialist for her daily patient visits, and was heavily exposed to the educational impact of this community-based nursing position.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals have been adopted by UN Member States to strive for the healing of people and our environment across the globe.  The fourth goal focuses on the assurance of quality education, this being a need that transcends school-based learning and enters the healthcare field as well.  While out on home visits with the English nurse, I noticed that most of her position focused on teaching new mothers and other parents to properly care for their children.  I found it particularly heartwarming to learn that home visits are done by a midwife within the first 10 days of a mother giving birth, followed by additional nurse visits between 10 and 14 days, 6-8 weeks, and 1 year from birth.  The regular schedule and personal nature of these visits is something that is not seen as frequently in the United States, and instead new mothers more often travel to doctor’s appointments themselves.  In this way, the education that is crucial for the healthy development of a baby may not be given if parents don’t show up for follow-up visits, or cannot find a means of transportation to get to these visits.

A large part of this specific Sustainable Development Goal relates to the accessibility of education itself.  While it is important to have properly trained individuals to provide education in communities, this means little if they cannot ensure that the education can be accessed easily and by many people.  In this way, the habitual nature of home visits in England, especially after birth, is a wonderful way to ensure that more individuals can receive the health education that they need.

 

Societal Infrastructure and Community Nursing

Author: Daniel Ku

I focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goal #9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. (UN General Assembly, 2018). As I walked through the streets of Chester, I came to notice that the city was very walkable: everything from the local clothing stores to the supermarkets were within a 2-kilometer radius, with the distribution of the stores being spread out to each cover the more rural areas. There was a lot of visible social infrastructure, from shops dedicated to donating part of their revenue to care (e.g. For The Kids) to donation bins for food and old items at the exits in every Tesco (popular supermarket) we visited. One of the nursing students mentioned that Chester was the “more posh” area within Cheshire, and the coverage and abundance of the stores reflected that status. He mentioned that where he lived, the drug use problem was higher and the concept of a “food desert” was visible. Interestingly enough, the Chester students stated that tap water was safe to drink and nearly everyone drank out of the tap, with some exceptions in nuclear or waste zones. Compared to the US’ limitation primarily being distribution of food, he stated that the food deserts here were caused by stretched supplies of essential products and over-reliance on food imports. Thus, the more economically viable locations received a substantially higher variety and quality of food, as well as access to and development of social infrastructure.

The communities that have better inclusivity and sustainable innovation tend to have a better chance at attracting workers and companies. More workers mean growing population, and more companies equate to economic viability and increased necessity of social infrastructure. How the nurses in the community treat patients and innovate methods of care directly affects the social infrastructure of a town/city: within Chester, availability of food banks, safe houses for sexual abuse victims, and coordination of localized care were connected with various resources, connected with the help of countless community nurses who played a vital part in starting these programs, advocating for these programs, and implementing them where they were needed most. By surveying areas for local health organizations, looking at infrastructure inequality, and advocating for needed programs, the nurse in the community can promote innovative solutions and increase inclusivity with health in the population and industries, leading to viable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure.

 

References

United Nations General Assembly. (2018). SDG Goal 9: Responsible consumption,

production. Retrieved from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg9