Public Health

Topics: Public health, Vaccination, Infectious disease Pages: 3 (815 words) Published: April 22, 2013
Public health is defined as the Science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through organized community efforts. These include sanitation, control of contagious infections, hygiene education, early diagnosis and preventive treatment, and adequate living standards. It requires understanding not only of epidemiology, nutrition, and antiseptic practices but also of social science. Historical public health measures included quarantine of leprosy victims in the Middle Ages and efforts to improve sanitation following the 14th-century plague epidemics. Population increases in Europe brought with them increased awareness of infant deaths and a proliferation of hospitals. Britain's Public Health Act of 1848 established a special public health ministry. In the U.S., public health is studied and coordinated on a national level by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; internationally, the World Health Organization plays an equivalent role. An example of the jurisdictions is “public health the law” which clearly indicates that their mission statement is based on the IOM definition. The IOM’s definition can be appreciated by examining its constituent parts. The emphasis on cooperative and mutually shared obligation (“we, as a society”) reinforces that collective entities (e.g., governments and communities) take responsibility for healthy populations. Individuals can do a great deal to safeguard their health, particularly if they have the economic means to do so. They can purchase housing, clothing, food, and medical care. Each person can also behave in ways that promote health and safety by eating healthy foods, exercising, using safety equipment (e.g., seatbelts and motorcycle helmets), or refraining from smoking, using illicit drugs, or drinking alcoholic beverages excessively. Yet, there is a great deal that individuals cannot do to secure their health and, therefore, these individuals need to...
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