Pam Cooper, one of three winners of the Men's Health Forum Innovation Awards* sponsored by Pfizer, discusses plans for their project designed to take health information to men
North Tees Primary Care Trust Promotion Service has recently been awarded a Men's Health Forum/Pfizer Male Health Innovation Award to promote men's health through pubs, clubs, DIY stores and other premises used by men.
There are particularly high levels of deprivation and poor health in this part of the north-east. Eleven of the wards in Stockton-on-Tees fall into the 10% most deprived wards in the entire country. Mortality rates for cancers and heart disease are high.
It is well know that men access health services less frequently than women and may well not seek help quickly enough; the lifestyle of many men in deprived areas is not conducive to good health; and men are less easy to access through social networks and organizations. This project aims to take health information to men, particularly those from deprived areas, in places where they go, using display stands/roadshows, health MOTs and pub quizzes on a health theme.
The funding will be used to appoint a part-time project officer to liaise with the venues and make the necessary arrangements. Health professionals will attend events and ensure that information is relevant, appropriate and up-to-the-minute. Men will be encouraged to take steps to improve their lifestyle or, if necessary, seek further professional support or advice.
We hope to appoint a person from a non-professional background who will feel at ease with this kind of work and benefit from the, albeit short-term, job opportunity.
The project will also enable us to raise the profile of men's health promotion in our area and develop new and relevant materials where these are needed.
Local health promotion staff and colleagues in other services have already begun to develop their experience of men's health promotion in men's venues. A recent project using Health Action Zone funding employed a man from a working men's club to develop health activities based in and around that club. This led to a special event, including a pub-style quiz on a health theme which was enjoyed by all concerned and found to be a useful and entertaining way of passing on health information. A roadshow has been held in a local pub, information distributed via a barbershop and a health event is planned in a local prison.
The project, for six months, will build on these small beginnings with the availability of a dedicated worker. If it proves successful, and given the rising level of interest in men's health issues and community based work, we will have a good case for attracting funding from other sources to continue the work.
Pam can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
*This Scheme was launched in 2001 to encourage the development of practical projects designed to improve the health of men and/or boys. The Awards were announced at the MHF conference in December. As yet the MHF has not received sponsorship for another Innovation Award scheme but should the situation change, it will be announced on this website.
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Page updated on December 1st, 2009