World health organization (WHO) in the year 1948 defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The WHO constitution claims that every government is responsible for the health of their peoples which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures. (WHO, 2020)
Definition and Key Terms of Public Health
American Bacteriologist Charles-Edward Amory has defined public health as “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private communities, and individuals.” (2020)
Let us see some of the facts from history with regards to public health:
- The Greeks and the Roman introduced sanitization measure for the whole community in the 500 BCE
- In 1840 the Public Health Act was established in the United Kingdom.
- In 1970 the environment Protection Agency was founded in the USA.
- In 1918 500 million people worldwide were infected with Influenza
- In 1955 polio vaccine was introduced
- 34 million worldwide were infected with HIV and only a 20% decline in infections was observed since 2001
Goals and Values of Public Health
To have a safe living environment the public health focuses to minimize the effects of any disease by implementing effective measures to reduce premature deaths and safety measures to keep the effects of a particular disease, injury, and disability under control. The following are the important values that help public health are:
- Commitment to equality, social justice, and sustainable development.
- Recognition of the importance of the health of the community as well as the individual.
- Self-determination, respect for diversity, empowerment, and community participation.
Importance of Public Health
Public health is an important factor to undertake health measures and preventive measures to eradicate the current deadly diseases, along with future measures to control any upcoming future health problems. Also, ailments which do not requires a specific treatment strategy, and the person gets healthy with certain tips. Public health measures and actions play a very important role in both developed and developing countries.
All the public health issues are controlled by the world health organization. But in most of the countries, the complete health system of the country is controlled by the health department and various health ministries. For instance, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA handles all the health activities that are of most importance to the people.
For example, in the United States of America, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Core Functions of Public Health. There are three main core functions of Public Health:
Policy Development Policy development helps to promote the use of a scientific knowledge base in policy and decision making
Assessment This helps to systematically collect, analyze, and make available information on healthy communities.
Assurance Ensure the provision of services to those in need
Essential Services of public health: The following are the 10 essential public health services grouped under the three core functions:
Stakeholder Roles in Public Health
The field of public health is broad and interdisciplinary, beyond government intervention it requires skilled stakeholders to conduct intervention programs, policies, research, evaluation, and education.
Healthcare as a partner in public health:
Healthcare plays a vital role in protecting and promoting the public’s health along with public health organizations. The two have differences that are worth highlighting, public health focuses on the entire population which clinical care focuses on the individual patient
Population focus Individual patient focus
Individual patient focus
|Public health ethic Personal service ethic||Personal service ethic|
|Prevention or public health emphasis Diagnosis & treatment emphasis||Diagnosis and treatment emphasis|
|Joint laboratory and filed involvement Joint laboratory and patient involvement||Joint laboratory and patient involvement|
|Public sector basis||Private sector basis|
Public health services
The public health service department provides the following health services to all its people: (Carlac)
1. Health status assessment
The public health service conducts the precise and regular check-ups of the public so that they can keep track of the health status of the whole country. The health officials undertake the task to identify health risks and also track important stats and differences in them. The public health services also work to identify resources and assets which are most important to the public use for the health of the public. To communicate data to all the public the health service department uses advanced technology to interpret this data from the resources available. The department needs to maintain records about the population which is needed in case of emergencies.
2. Analyzing the health issues
The current pandemic situation due to the coronavirus had created so much tension around the world, firstly due to not knowing its source then later due to no vaccine to cure it. The same way these kinds of infections that break out without any vaccine to it creates an alarming situation for the whole world. This can be handled by taking quick measures and analyzing ways to prevent the spread of these infections and identifying a suitable vaccine as a cure. There is also a need for advanced labs with all the well-equipped tools and technologies to handle emergencies. These kind of high-tech labs are available in the highly developed countries as compared to the underdeveloped one.this is also one of the reason for the high-death rates in these underdeveloped countries with fewer amenities to use in times of emergencies.
3. Providing health education
Healthcare professionals must be imparted with the right education and they must be trained on how to use the latest technology so that they can make the correct decisions in times of emergencies. Training sessions must be conducted to update them with the latest health policies and guidelines and also they should be trained to handle emergencies.
4. Implement health guidelines
The success of healthcare depends to a large extent on the various health rules and guidelines which are set by the government. These guidelines and policies are accurately framed by high qualified healthcare professionals keeping in mind that they need to be in line with the WHO standards so that the best health care services are provided to the people. Some of these guidelines are about taking measures during emergencies, planning, and improvements about the state’s health and also how effectively to manage the available resources.
5. Enforcing Law and Order
The healthcare department needs to consider all the rules and regulations enforced by the law of that country, abiding by these rules can help them achieve success. This success also depends upon how well educated and informed the healthcare staffs are about the various laws of healthcare. They need to follow it rigidly and thus helping the people to get the appropriate health requirements in the right way.
6. Connecting healthcare and people
It is the responsibility of the healthcare industry to connect people with the necessary health care facilities. Often people staying the remote places do not get even the basic health care facilities. They must maintain records of these people and areas that are deprived of the essential health care facilities. There should proper transportation of emergency kits and medical help to all the hospitals and public health centers so every person gets the right treatment and quality care at the right time.
7. Talented healthcare workforce
Talented and well-informed healthcare professionals are valuable assets in the healthcare industry during emergencies to take the correct actions. Along with this workforce ts important that the health department maintains the testing laboratories in good conditions and has trained health practitioners to provide high-quality services to the public. They must we well trained with the right degrees, qualifications, and licenses to provide correct health services in their clinics or hospitals.
8. Accurate Evaluation
The healthcare policymakers must evaluate and deliver the healthcare policies for the betterment of the people staying in the country, as these policies are directly proportional to the success of healthcare in that country. Health officials must be proactive to assess and evaluate all the needs and to fulfill it at the right time so that the patients do not suffer due to the lack of proper healthcare facilities
9. Budget approval
There are some countries whose government is least bothered about keeping the budget for the well-being of its people due to which the people suffer a lot due to many health problems and not getting the proper care for the same. No doubt the budget for healthcare is a huge amount but it is equally responsible to maintain the health of the people and the officials in charge must likely take the responsibility of proving the right amount for the same.
10. Discovering funding source
It is important to find the discover the right source to fund healthcare systems, as the funds needed are in huge amounts. Having said that, these funds are equally important as they will be used for public health and the betterment of the people. This is one of the reasons that the funding decisions for the healthcare systems are taken by the financial department which strives to maintain and provide funds in the right way thus maintaining a safe and healthy environment.
- 2020. Introduction to Public Health. [Online] Available at https://www.cdc.gov/publichealth101/public-health.html [Accessed October 2020].
- Carlac, n.d. Carlac. [Online]Available at https://carlac.net/public-health-and-its-significance.html [Accessed 2020].
- WHO, 2020. WHO. [Online] Available at https://www.who.int/about/who-we-are/frequently-asked-questions
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