Winslow's Public Health

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PUBLIC HEALTH: MOVING FORWARD FOR PEOPLE’S HEALTH Many of the developments in our people’s collective health are brought about by significant changes and improvements in the field of public health. For centuries, human endeavors in improving the health and increasing life expectancies of the people remained a focus of public health. While C.E. Winslow refers to public health as the field of science and art that deals with disease prevention, life prolongation and health promotion through the collective efforts of an organized and well-informed society, individuals, groups or communities (C.E.Winslow, 1920), the Institute of Medicine defines public health as the collective efforts of society to ensure the conditions necessary…show more content…
Scientific advancements in microbiology saw the birth of epidemiological studies and social medicine. Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch postulated “the germ theory” which explained the causal relationship between microbes and diseases and opened doors for scientific advances in control, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. Vaccinations and immunizations were also discovered. (Institute of Medicine 1988). During this period, most states in the US had health boards and health departments whose primary function was to take charge of the over-all public health efforts and functions, ranging from control of communicable diseases, sanitary inspections, health education, establishment of laboratories, food and water control, surveillance and reporting. (Shi & Singh, 4th ed). As new ideas on the causes of diseases emerged, public health interventions and measures improved over time. Health became a social responsibility and public health assumed a social justice orientation. As a consequence of the tremendous gains in public health, the people’s health and quality of life improved with life expectancy increasing greater by 30 years. (Institute of Medicine,…show more content…
As quality of life improves, life expectancy increases and mortality rates decrease, the impact of chronic debilitating diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other chronic injuries to people’s health became a reality. The feasibility of extending the scope of public health measures with today’s health problems and threats becomes a central public health issue. The 21st century heralded health problems arising from tobacco, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, diet, obesity, drugs or substance abuse, firearms, motor vehicular accidents, street and domestic violence. Also, the emergence of new diseases such as AIDS, H1N1, SARS, MERs-COV and multiple drug and antibiotic resistant diseases are becoming a threat to people’s health and a nightmare for public health officials and health professionals. More recently, diseases brought about by climate change and threats of biochemical warfare and terrorism shifted public health’s role in disaster and community preparedness. (Shi & Singh,4th ed). Over the past decades, the role of public health shifted from control and prevention of diseases to the promotion of the overall health of the population. Thus, the creation of Healthy People strategy and programs in the 21st
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