Sample Health Care Courseworks Paper on The HPV Vaccine Health Policy Formulation

The HPV Vaccine Health Policy Formulation

Introduction

Scientific researchers and international health bodies have projected opportunities of preventing most of the HPV related infection with the development of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The vaccine has been widely accredited as a breakthrough in the medical field but still, the public is reluctant to take it up due to various reasons, some of which are as a result of misguided information. The public is highly concerned with the key issues of concern including the cost of the vaccine and the risks associated with it that made its safety be doubted.  Previous attempts have been made by stakeholders to make the vaccine acceptable.

Objective of the policy

The objective of this policy is thus to address the false perception of the HPV vaccine because it is the most effective method that is currently available in preventing the spread of this contagious disease

Defining the policy formulation stage

The formulation stage is the most critical and involves various factors to be considered according to Ball (2006). It involves the process of crafting the HPV vaccine related goals, setting priorities and doing the cost benefit analysis of the existing options. At this stage, usually the actions which are proposed for the adoption of the HPV vaccine are clearly articulated and designed using proper language ready for the debate. The drafts are further revised to suit the needs of the policy makers who are responsible for passing the laws.  This stage deals with setting both the goals and the anticipated outcomes (Porche, 2012). These objectives on the HPV vaccine will also be designed with indicators showing how they are likely to be measured and achieved. Examples will include how to increase access to the HPV vaccine while the outcome will be based on ensuring the public access to HPV vaccine in medical centers and all other health facilities. Indicators will be developed to include the number of women and children who will receive the vaccine and the reduced cases of HPV-related medical complications like cervical cancer.

Formulating the HPV Vaccine policy and the involving the stakeholders

The HPV vaccine policy will be moved through various levels and processes that will be determined by stakeholders like the elected officials, special interest groups and other organizations. Buse, Mays & Walt (2012) observed that in most cases, the decision makers always depend on the political systems and processes to reach an amicable solution that is appropriate to the majority of the people. The political angle of pushing through the HPV vaccine will also be considered as this determines the allocation of scarce resources within the public sphere. In this case the stakeholders that will be involved will include the most influential individuals, groups with special interests, organizations and legislators all of whom have the ability to negotiate, manage conflicts, think critically through the policy, communicate and solve the problems.

Defining the legislative stage

The legislative stage is often very competitive as most of those in charge in decision making have their personal interests that guides their agenda setting process.  At the legislative stage, there is a strong need to gain HPV vaccine policy support so that funding can be done to influence the decisions of the legislators as advised by (Fanarof, Linder, Waller, & University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 2009). This involves the formation of health committees for policy making at both levels of the government. The HPV Vaccine policy is thus thoroughly scrutinized at this committee stage. At this point, the views are openly discussed and any conflicting views such as the risks involved are also raised. The leaders of the committees encourage their members to negotiate further and set agenda to consider the HPV vaccine bill. This implies that the committee’s role is that of gate keeping on the most appropriate motions to be tabled before legislatures for debates.  

The formed committees at the legislative stage hold hearings and educate both their members and the public on the HPV vaccine that is under consideration. These hearings are essential as they give the public opportunities to air its views for further discussion. The medical fraternity can also mobilize the existing associations to contribute through testimonies during the committee hearings. The legislators then decide on the urgent matters raised on the HPV vaccine that is of high interest to the public to the legislative development stage. In this case, the HPV vaccine’s mandate may be the issue of high importance because most global health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control have consistently recommended the prevention methods.

Define the implementation stage

The implementation level is when the idea or concept is made to become a reality. This stage will also involve the process of stakeholders ensuring that the right information is disseminated regarding the HPV vaccine and getting the policy to be put to action. For the HPV vaccine policy to be successful, it will be passed through the respective agencies of government. In the event that the existing agencies will lack the capacity to implement it, there will be a need to form new ones. At this level the HPV vaccine policy is enacted by the local, federal and state governments through there agencies which have the responsibility of administering the policy.  The government agencies work to put in place HPV vaccine regulations that are regarded as rules to guide the implementation process. For instance, the government could set the rule that every child below the age of five years needs to get the HPV vaccine and thus parents and teachers will be tasked to ensure that this is achieved. With the existing policy environment where the public is doubting the safety, cost effectiveness and the efficacy of the vaccine, all the implementing bodies may consider using different strategies to advocate for the uptake.

             It is also essential to ensure that there is a clear interpretation of the HPV Vaccine policy at this implementation stage. This implies that the intent of legislation ought to be translated into the desired rules of operation (O’Mullane, 2013). It may involve the judiciary system putting in place guidelines for both stakeholders and members of the public. This is important because should the legislative intent be deemed to be less effective, then the HPV vaccine policy may be overruled by the judiciary.  Another critical element at the implementation stage will include allocating resources that will facilitate the actual execution process. This may call for the government, international health bodies and local NGOs to work with already existing structures to execute the HPV vaccine uptake.

Accountable parties and their roles in the various implementation stages of the policy

It is worth noting that for the involved parties, each will have to be divided in specific categories that will guide their roles and how they will be approached and involved in the policy development process. There are key institutions which will be regarded to be of high interest and influence in the HPV vaccine polity including the legislative institutions, the departments of health, the central government, NGOs in the health and education sectors, the pharmaceutical companies in charge of vaccine manufacturing, advocacy groups that deal with HPV vaccine and other international world health bodies like the WHO. Other accountable parties include professionals in the health sector who although may have high influence on the policy will have lower levels of influence towards making it adapted.  Another group of accountable parties include the media, academic institutions, the other business companies which have both lower levels of influence and interest.

Another category that is highly valued by the policy makers is the contributions made by the scientific research organizations. These provide not only the data but also the solid evidence on HPV vaccine that is likely to bring about the solution. They are credible in giving recommendations based on evidence that the HPV vaccine has the capability of preventing any other HPV-related medical complications like cancer. The media plays a significant role to empower the masses and to put the other parties to task by questioning how valid the recommendations may be (Harrington & Estes, 2008). It can also help in changing the perception of the masses towards the uptake of the HPV vaccine.  The pharmaceutical companies will also have a critical role of providing resourceful information on the components and the dangers of HPV vaccine. Other NGOs will take initiative to lobby the legislators, draft the legislation, and mobilize other female legislators and organizations the physician associations to support the policy. They will also be helpful through carrying out marketing campaigns to influence perceptions of the public towards taking up the HPV vaccine.  

Conclusion

Lack of commitment from policy makers is likely to undermine the legislation process to encourage the uptake of new HPV vaccines.  There is a need for the government agencies to demonstrate their commitments by cooperating with all the other stakeholders involved to outline the power grid of influence so as to accelerate the decision making process. It is thus the responsibility of these policy makers to ensure that gender awareness is created through the sex education and combining the HPV vaccine with the annual pap smears that women are encouraged to take.  This is because the HPV vaccine is likely to benefit everyone that is involved if the policy process is done using clear communication and high levels of transparency without vested interests.  

References

Buse, K., Mays, N., & Walt, G. (2012). Making health policy. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill/Open

University Press.

Ball, D. (2006). Environmental health policy. Maidenhead: Open Univ. Press [u.a..

Fanarof, J. K., Linder, S. H., Waller, K., & University of Texas Health Science Center at

Houston. (2009). An analysis of Texas’s school based HPV vaccine mandate: A public health risk communication failure: HPVETO. (Masters Abstracts International, 47-5.)

Harrington, C., & Estes, C. L. (2008). Health policy: Crisis and reform in the U.S. health care

delivery system. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Pub.

In O’Mullane, M. (2013). Integrating health impact assessment with the policy process: Lessons

and experiences from around the world.

Porche, D. J. (2012). Health policy: Application for nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.