Social Work Practice with Low Income Women for Greater Access to Prenatal Care

Reforming health care as a social institution involves the participation of other institutions of society in this process. At the same time, cooperation and interaction with the institute of social protection is of paramount importance in this situation. So far, in the framework of integrated management, the health and social protection sectors function quite independently. The best option for cooperation is the development of such a direction as medical and social work. It is an essential element in the development of cooperation between these two areas. In such a way, social work practitioners have enough opportunities to help low-income women to overcome their life obstacles for greater access to prenatal care.

The main figure in the implementation of different tasks in this area is a social work practitioner who has undergone special medical training. Depending on the specialization, medical and social workers work in various institutions: in medical care (inpatient and outpatient levels), in social services; in combined medical and social units; in various organizations in the framework of actions to promote a healthy lifestyle and disease prevention. A special place in this list is occupied by the Crisis Centers for Women, where it is possible to introduce a model of cooperation between social workers, medical workers and psychologists.

Observing low income problems, it can be said that these centers provide assistance in particularly difficult cases, while women face difficult problems rather often and need the help of a social work practitioner not only in crisis situations. First of all, this applies to women of childbearing age, when a social work practitioner can provide substantial assistance in the formation and support of a positive model of reproductive behavior, as well as can help women with low income to overcome their financial problems for greater access to prenatal care.

It is proved that there is a combination of factors, which significantly affect the state of human health. However, they cannot be adjusted by the efforts of medical workers, because it is not part of the subject of their activities and requires special social knowledge and skills. The dilemma is resolved by including a social worker in the process of providing medical care.

Realizing the fact that low-income women often experience a state of poverty, in which a person has basic needs necessary to maintain health and livelihoods, and when these needs cannot be fully satisfied owing to lack of insufficient funds. Moreover, very often women work hard, but their income stays low, while there are solutions for such situations too. In the arsenal of social work practitioners, there are methods of social protection of women during work overload, but women themselves do not seek such a help.

According to statistical data, some women said that they resorted to the help of a psychologist, but none of the respondents knew that a social work practitioner could also protect their interests (Gitterman, 2001). This situation has a place because women: a) are not informed about the ways to protect their interests, b) do not connect overloads in work with the possibility of harm to their reproductive health, and c) are afraid of a situation that they may lose their jobs owing to the intervention of third parties.

Thus, a social work on assisting pregnant women in difficult life situations is often carried out in the conditions of antenatal clinic by a psychologist, a social worker and a lawyer whose functions are to inform a pregnant woman about the rights and guarantees in employment, education, citizenship, amounts and conditions of cash benefits, the duration of leave, etc. The task of the social work practitioner is to assist in the provision of temporary shelter in institutions of social protection (as well as in shelters created by public and religious associations), in a case of necessity. Moreover, social work practitioners also may help women to seek help from organizations that patronize women in need of medical and social assistance, rehabilitation and support, and explain the possibility of involving various state bodies and public associations in resolving issues of medical and social assistance to women in difficult situations.

Work Cited

Gitterman, A. Handbook of Social Work Practice with Vulnerable and Resilient Populations. Columbia University Press, 2001.

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[Accessed: August 11, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2020]