Public health

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Public health is the science and the art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting physical health and mental health and efficiency through organized community efforts toward a sanitary environment.

Elements of public health[edit | edit source]

Public health, deals with the control of community infections The education of the individual in principles of personal hygiene the organization of medical and nursing service for the early diagnosis and treatment of disease The development of the social machinery to ensure to every individual in the community a standard of living adequate for the maintenance of health.

Health is a dynamic state of complete physical, mental, spiritual, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Public health, as the the name suggests, deals with the health and well being of the public. It is “What we as a society do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy

The mission[edit | edit source]

  • The mission of public health is to fulfill society’s desire to create conditions so that people can be healthy
  • Activities that society undertakes to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy which includes organized community efforts to prevent, identify, and counter threats to the health of the public.

Areas of Public Health Responsibility[edit | edit source]

Public health is one of the greatest things in which a government can and do invest.

Benefits[edit | edit source]

Early prevention, which is relatively inexpensive, can prevent dire and expensive health care problems later in life. Governmental responsibilities for public health extend beyond voluntary activities and services to include additional authorities such as quarantine, mandatory immunization laws, and regulatory authorities.

Areas of Public Health Responsibility[edit | edit source]

The areas of public health responsibility include (1) assuring an adequate local public health infrastructure, (2) promoting healthy communities and healthy behaviors, (3) preventing the spread of communicable disease, (4) protecting against environmental health hazards, (5) preparing for and responding to emergencies, and (6) assuring health services.

Assure an Adequate Local Public Health Infrastructure[edit | edit source]

Assuring an adequate local public health infrastructure means maintaining the basic capacities foundational to a well-functioning public health system such as data analysis and utilization; health planning; partnership development and community mobilization; policy development, analysis and decision support; communication; and public health research, evaluation and quality improvement.

Promote Healthy Communities and Healthy Behavior[edit | edit source]

Promoting healthy communities and healthy behaviors means activities that improve health in a population, such as investing in healthy families; engaging communities to change policy, systems or environments to promote positive health or prevent adverse health; providing information and education about healthy communities or population health status; and addressing issues of health equity, health disparities, and the social determinants of health.

Prevent the Spread of Communicable Disease[edit | edit source]

Preventing the spread of infectious disease means preventing diseases that are caused by infectious agents, such as by detecting acute infectious diseases, assuring the reporting of infectious diseases, preventing the transmission of disease, and implementing control measures during infectious disease outbreaks.  

Protect Against Environmental Health Hazards[edit | edit source]

Protecting against environmental health hazards means addressing aspects of the environment that pose risks to human health, such as monitoring air and water quality, developing policies and programs to reduce exposure to environmental health risks and promote healthy environments, and identifying and mitigating environmental risks such as foodborne and waterborne diseases, radiation, occupational health hazards, and public health nuisances.

Prepare and Respond To Emergencies[edit | edit source]

Preparing and responding to emergencies means engaging in activities that prepare public health departments to respond to events and incidents and assist communities in recovery, such as providing leadership for public health preparedness activities within a community; developing, exercising and periodically reviewing response plans for public health threats; and developing and maintaining a system of public health workforce readiness, deployment, and response.

Assure Health Services[edit | edit source]

Assuring health services means engaging in activities such as assessing the availability of health-related services and health care providers in local communities; identifying gaps and barriers; convening community partners to improve community health systems; and providing services identified as priorities by the local assessment and planning process.

The Roles of Local, State, and Federal Governments[edit | edit source]

Public health is population-based. Although local health departments and community health boards provide services to individuals, the goal of a population-based approach is very different from that of a patient-based or client-based approach that addresses the needs or concerns of an individual. Since public health activities are based on community needs, resources, funding, and support, services vary among local public health departments. The Roles of Local, State, and Federal Governments

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD