Management of municipal solid waste (MSW) or otherwise known as trash or garbage is an ongoing environmental and economic issue not only in the Unites States but also around the world especially in a developing country like the Philippines. The need for a community assessment that aims at assessing the current problems related to the way trash is managed in Pateros, the smallest district in Metro Manila, has been identified. A community assessment is a systemic process of understanding a health problem for the purpose of priority setting or developing an action plan (Escoffery et al, 2004).
Before I initiate a community assessment in the area of Pateros, I would have to follow a guide to effectively accomplish the assessment. The matter of solid waste and its management in Metro Manila had catapulted itself into the limelight in 2000, during which a number of issues plagued the solid waste management sector (Navarro, 2003). Tragically, excessive open dumping of solid waste combined with the seasonal monsoon rains at the Payatas site, the largest active open dumpsite in the Philippines, in July 2000 caused a large-scale slope failure that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of scavengers (Mair, n. . ). As a Health Educator, I am tasked to assess the needs of this community in relation to the management of waste and how it can be improved to minimize and prevent the health hazards that threatens the health of the citizens of Pateros. There are four phases in the community assessment. The initial phase is the needs assessment planning phase. Determining the purpose and objectives of a community is the first step that falls under this phase.
I have already identified that the purpose of conducting an assessment in the district of Pateros are the current problems related to the way that trash is managed WASTE MANAGEMENT ASSESSMENT 2 in this community and how it can be improved to minimize and prevent the health hazards that threatens the health of the citizens of Pateros. Second step is to identify and involve the stakeholders. It is critical to have members of the agency and community involved in the planning of the assessment.
Stakeholders are gatekeepers to the community for the process (Escoffery et al, 2004). I will have to gather a community advisor board that will compromise of representatives from the local community council, health department, medical practices, local business owners and hospitals. Third step is to identify the population of interest or community. The local community advisory board has identified local citizens within the boundaries of the district of Pateros as the intended population to assess. The fourth step is to develop an operational management plan.
Under this step, the health agency that I work for should establish the logistics of the assessment. This means that the plan should outline the details that will determine data indicators and sources, prioritization methods; role of the stakeholders; how the meetings will be facilitated and organized and ways to build consensus and management conflict (Petersen & Alexander, 2001). The health agency has developed steps for the assessment utilizing the Health Education Planning model. Once the assessment planning is complete, the assessment moves to the data collection phase.
This phase includes (1) talking to key informants who are community leaders who are in the position to know the community very well, (2) identifying community indicators for assessment in which identified previously as the overwhelming trash that is poorly managed by the community, (3) identifying data sources which was identified from research done regarding Metro Manila’s waste management from previous years WASTE MANAGEMENT ASSESSMENT 3 and compared it to data to other ASEAN countries, (4) conducting a community profile by gathering information from local census and other governmental agencies such as Metro Manila developing agency and by conducting tour of the community, (5) conducting a resource inventory in which the assessment team developed a list of community agencies and contacts who could assist with the improvement of waste management in Pateros and lastly but not the least (6) gathering and reviewing existing and obtaining new data by using quantitative and qualitative methods regarding the opinions, attitudes, behaviors and thoughts of the community and individual community members about the current problems to the way trash is managed in Pateros.
Methods used to acquire data included mailed and door-to-door surveys, self-administered questionnaires, focus group, community forums and in-depth interviews. After collecting the data for assessment, reviewing the data should be run to answer the main assessment questions (Escoffery et al, 2004). Results from data findings should be summarized and concise when presented to the advisory board. The assessment team and stakeholders should come to a consensus regarding the district of Pateros’ primary needs based on the assessment results. Prioritizing needs is necessary to identify ways to address the issue at hand. Finally, the health agency can now develop an action plan from the culmination of the collected data.
When making recommendations for an action plan, the agency should reexamine the purpose and questions of the assessment in presenting data (Escoffery et al, 2004). The recommendation plan should coincide directly to what was discovered from the assessment results and should involve the entire assessment committee in the process. The final action plan should identify ways of how WASTE MANAGEMENT ASSESSMENT 3 to improve waste management in Pateros, the expected time frame that the plan will be implemented and required resources to fulfill the plan. Sharing the assessment results to the citizens of Pateros is an important part of the whole community assessment.
The community will appreciate that their input has been sought and is valuable to the development of a course of action. The agency should make the assessment results user-friendly so every individual community member may understand it. Once the plan is in place, the agency should establish methods of monitoring and evaluating the action plan to ensure that the programs implemented are addressing the issues and needs of the district of Pateros. Therefore, this evaluation continues the cycle of community assessment and slowly transition the leadership from the health agency to the local advisory board to other community partners to help take the lead in implementing and monitoring activities related to the action plan in the community (Escoffery et al, 2004).