Roles played by Public Health Agencies in identifying levels of health and diseases in communities
Public health agencies help in safeguarding and improving community health through campaigning for healthier lifestyles, researching on ways to detect and prevent disease and injury and regulating infectious diseases (Cutler and Miller). Public health agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), department of Health and Local authorities, main objective is to protect the entire population’s health regardless of their size, from local neighbourhoods to a whole country or a given region of the biosphere.
Public health agencies implement efforts that are aimed at preventing health problems from occurring or recurring. Among the strategies they employ include conducting research and ensuring that new knowledge is distributed, developing standards, founding norms and overseeing implementation, advocating for policy options that are based on evidence, offering leadership on important health matters, providing practical support and know-how, and monitoring and evaluating health trends. Generally, public health agencies’ core activities revolve around promoting healthcare accessibility, parity, and excellence. Another crucial role played by public health is limiting the gaps that exist in the various healthcare systems (Khaleghian and Das Gupta).
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Over the years, public health agencies have employed different approaches and strategies to measure, monitor and control the incidence of diseases in communities they serve. Below is a list of some of the ways they use to identify levels of health and diseases in communities.
Health Surveillance. Public health agencies conduct health studies and surveys, which help them to detect outbreaks early, identify disease trends, pinpoint factors influencing health, and determine occurrence of illness. This information allows for suitable interventions to be instigated early, which in turn reduces impact (Khaleghian and Das Gupta). In addition, surveillance fosters understanding events and existing situations. For example, increased cases of bacterial infection being experienced across the country over a short time may suggest that an extensively distributed food product is contaminated.
Public health agencies also investigate and trace exposure of communicable diseases outbreaks (Khaleghian and Das Gupta). These activities help in determining the number of individuals who are infected as well as the number of the healthy individuals. By assessing the health of the population, public health agencies can identify the population’s health level, understand the factors that foster good health as well as those that increase health risks (Khaleghian and Das Gupta). These evaluations help to ensure provision of better services and formulation of better health policies.
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Public health agencies partner with stakeholders, such as persons, concerned organizations, and communities, in order to understand and advance health by ensuring effective healthy public policies, implementing community-based interventions, and encouraging public involvement (Cutler and Miller). Health promotion enhances disease prevention through facilitating healthier behaviours. A broad approach to health promotion may also encompass health policy advocacy; community development; and ecological and socioeconomic factors affecting health movements.
Lastly, public health agencies employ epidemiology to identify the urgent health problems within the communities they serve, determine the magnitude of already existing diseases, determine diseases risk factors, establish the extent of damage caused by health problems and monitor communities’ health trends (Cutler and Miller). The role of public health agencies in promoting public health is therefore indisputable.
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