Vulnerable Populations Essay Sample

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Vulnerable populations are groups that are not well integrated into the health care system because of ethnic, cultural, economic, geographic, or health characteristics. This isolation puts members of these groups at risk for not obtaining necessary medical care, and thus constitutes a potential threat to their health. Commonly cited examples of vulnerable populations include racial and ethnic minorities, the rural and urban poor, undocumented immigrants, and people with disabilities or multiple chronic conditions.

WHO Basis for Risk Grouping: Each country classifies the agents in that country by risk group based on pathogenicity of the organism, modes of transmission and host range of the organism. These may be influenced by existing levels of immunity, density and movement of host population presence of appropriate vectors and standards of environmental hygiene. Availability of effective preventive measures. Such measures may include: prophylaxis by vaccination or antisera; sanitary measures, e.g. food and water hygiene; the control of animal reservoirs or arthropod vectors; the movement of people or animals; and the importation of infected animals or animal products. Availability of effective treatment. This includes passive immunization and post-exposure vaccination, antibiotics, and chemotherapeutic agents, taking into consideration the possibility of the emergence of resistant strains. It is important to take prevailing conditions in the geographical area in which the microorganisms are handled into account. Note: Individual governments may decide to prohibit the handling or importation of certain pathogens except for diagnostic purposes.

Heterosexual women are another group at increased risk for STDs and HIV infection. Only 20% to 25% of sexually active American women have male partners who use condoms, and even in these cases, such use is sporadic. Socioeconomic status impacts condom use; poor women are less likely to have male partners who use condoms. For women who are reluctant to insist on condom use or whose partners refuse to wear condoms, there is a condom designed especially for women that is recommended for both contraceptive use and STD prevention.

Nurses can provide women with information on the availability and use of condoms for women, which is an effective method of barrier protection (Workowski & Levine,) Nurses are responsible for identifying the vulnerable population and risk group, and advocate on their behalf, by educating them on the available resources and implementing them with collaboration of other relevant heath care givers and organizations for the purpose of health promotion. I would advocate for more to be done to help those without health insurance. Healthcare is so expensive, persons without insurance have it difficult to pay.


Maurer, F. A., & Smith, C. M. (2009). Community/Public Health Nursing Practice Health for families and populations(4th ed.). (n.d.). In Risk Grroup classification for Infectious Agents. Retrieved October 29, 2014, from http://www,

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