Neighborhood Organization for Pediatric Asthma Management in the Neighborhood Asthma Coalition: Educating the Community
Caution is in order in too readily attributing lack of self management to failure to understand its importance. Regardless of its concrete benefits, self management represents an orientation toward disease that is very congruent with middle-class, western culture but is alien to many others. Awareness of differences in cultural perspectives need not lead to abandonment of efforts to promote self management but should prompt efforts to understand self management from perspectives which may find its benefits not at all self-evident.
A final consideration necessary to understanding lack of basic care reflects the risks of life within target neighborhoods as they differ from those in middle-class settings. Upon leaving a neighborhood activity at 6 pm one September evening, the first author witnessed one of the mothers who had attended being mugged and having her throat slashed (fortunately, not critically) while holding her infant daughter in her arms at a bus stop buy dexone online. Among other explanations, discussion the subsequent week indicated we had been too casual in letting the activity run over its planned, 5:30 conclusion. A survey of inner city 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th grade students in Chicago found that 30% had directly witnessed a stabbing and 26% had directly witnessed a shooting. To the extent violence and related risks are salient and substantial, attention to more than minimal care of problems like asthma may be, in the narrow sense of probabilities of different costs and benefits, irrational.
Appreciating the seriousness of asthma and the importance of its care requires not only basic knowledge of asthma management, but support from family and friends who surround asthmatic children, their parents, and caregivers. Neighborhood residents should appreciate and support regular asthma care and management and timely response to asthma emergencies. In this way, for example, even if a child’s parent does not understand the seriousness of asthma and how to care for it, a friend or relative may know when something is wrong and help instigate needed steps. While reaching a whole community is daunting, the message is fairly simple:
• Take asthma seriously.
• Take asthma medicine for asthma symptoms.
• When symptoms persist or worsen, get help. But, this message needs to be brought directly to people if they are to receive it. Thus, the analysis briefly reviewed here has led us to seek to develop a consciousness of these simple messages throughout the neighborhoods of the Neighborhood Asthma Coalition. In addition to the objective of reaching the public with the basic message of asthma care, research on circumstances of low-income African Americans indicates the value of organizing programs through channels other than the conventional clinical setting.