The need for public health flows out of the human desire for community. Living together helps establish social bonds necessary for prosperity and meets a deep-seated need in all of us to connect with one another. However, this comes with its own pitfalls, one of which can effectively manage public health. They do it through different channels such as lifestyle changes, tracking and researching epidemics, and preventing injuries. However, despite these measures, public health still needs improvement.
How can public health professionals do their part with so many new infections on the horizon and the emergence of the COVID pandemic? Here’s how:
Continue Updating Information
People need to know what they’re up against regarding health and safety. The only way public health professionals can help is through constant information. Reliable resources such as the CDC and WHO are excellent guides. These channels provide information for free that is both current and relevant. Without awareness, the public may not know what they’re dealing with.
For example, the National Cancer Institute’s timely warning stopped a cancer epidemic from spreading in the US. In 2020, it was estimated that nearly 2 million new cases of prostate cancer were to rise in the US, claiming nearly half of all cancer diagnoses in men. Public health professionals stepped in and began urging for early testing and genetic screening, and a calamity was averted. Public health officials respond to many such calamities by drafting a public health plan. These plans help in implementing and taking immediate action. Those who wish to pursue a degree in public health and be a part of the leading sector should ask themselves, “what is public health planning?” The answer to this question can be a wondrous pursuit.
The public health sector encourages people to stay updated on their vaccines by talking about the benefits of getting a shot. These professionals should go on media, visit schools and provide links to websites that inform people how the immune system needs vaccines. Without proper encouragement, a general distrust of vaccines will continue festering, all of which good guidance can resolve.
2019 had been a busy year for epidemics such as dengue fever, Zika virus, and Chikungunya. The Coronavirus sent the world into a frenzy with several cases that only rivaled the Spanish flu of 1918. Covid-19 already impacted about 117 countries affecting nearly 2 million individuals. By 2022, the virus has claimed upwards of 5 million lives. Without regulating authorities launching an aggressive vaccine program, the effects of the virus could have been even more devastating.
According to the New York Times, in 2022, about 62.4% of the world’s population received Covid-19 vaccines. However, despite this data, nearly a third of the US population expressed skepticism regarding vaccination. However, the immunization program was only successful through constant education and awareness.
Emphasize Prenatal Care
In 2019, about 1 in 7 infants were born to women receiving improper prenatal care. These babies had a low birth rate, had difficulty expanding their lungs and passed away within a few months. Losing a child is devastating and can lead to long-term family and community problems. This is why it is essential expecting mothers get help so that they deliver healthy babies.
The public health sector needs to discuss the importance of prenatal care. These include family planning, providing mothers with regular health checkups, safely administering medicines while pregnant, and educating mothers to help them take care of their health. When mothers start eating better, they can have more children and raise the ones they have better. Mothers who bail on the process may not know their fetus’s health condition or underlying genetic disorders. They may be too weak to give birth and may experience traumatizing labor, leading to birth defects such as intracranial hemorrhaging.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Approximately 88,000 deaths per year happen because of excessive alcohol in the US. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2019, 85.6% of people confessed to indulging in alcoholic beverages. With so many continuing to drink, it’s essential to study the effects of alcohol.
Alcohol has many short-term and long-term effects. The short term leads to impaired driving and frequent car accidents, miscarriages in pregnant women, and even blackouts. The long-term effects are even more severe with heart diseases, liver diseases, and digestive problems, eventually leading to alcohol poisoning. People binging alcohol should seek help in interventions, rehab, and therapy. Without supervised help, it can be challenging to bounce back. Public health officials can help shape policies and lobby for responsible drinking habits with heavier fines and jail time for repeat offenders.
Obesity is a significant health concern in the US, with over 40% of the population struggling with it between 2017 and 2018. It cost the healthcare sector more than $100 billion trying to look after patients with obesity. People with obesity suffer health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes, and difficulty breathing. In extreme cases, the patient may become completely bedridden and lose all mobility over time. The major contributing factor of obesity is a poor diet and lack of physical activity, so with proper help, these two factors can get remedied.
The public health sector encourages patients to visit doctors and get their complete physical checkups to assess their health. A physical exam will inform the patient where their health stands and what needs immediate attention. Following a physical, it’s a good idea to see a dietician chart out a health plan that would encourage weight loss and top it off with exercise.
The public health sector has a vital role in helping and looking after the population. Many diseases are prevalent in society, and unless addressed popularly, they can escalate to dangerous levels. One of the core functions of the public health sector is to assess the health of the population and make necessary adjustments. These include studying endemics, epidemics, and pandemics. With the correct information, people can seek help for prevailing health issues. For a healthy and thriving society, these measures are essential.
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