Public health has always been a pressing matter, even in many 1st world countries Plagues like Chikungunya and Dengue Fever have wreaked havoc in impoverished communities. STDs are still common in urban cities. In addition, smoking and alcohol consumption has shot up in your adults, leading to several public health concerns. Not to mention, our dependence on technology is slowly pushing us to a sedentary lifestyle.
2020 has made it only worse with the occurrence of coronavirus, a pandemic that disturbed the globe entirely. Unfortunately, the world still hasn’t been able to recover from it. Though the good news is the advancement of medicine and modern technology has made it easier to implement treatment plans and save lives. Similarly, policy-makers are working to keep communities healthy and safe for the general public.
Since the past year, health concerns have spiked globally. Hence it comes as no surprise that even non-healthcare professionals are inclined towards a career related to public health (or healthcare in general). Nowadays, people need advanced knowledge with evidence-based research and more comprehensive approaches to public health and safety more than ever. Fortunately, the internet makes acquiring such knowledge and skills pretty straightforward via many distance learning opportunities. Individuals can enroll in a masters in public health online and spearhead a career in community service and public policy-making. Qualified and dedicated professionals will ensure a lasting positive impact on the overall state of social, physical, and mental well-being. With that said, listed below are some long-term and short-term public health issues that still need to be addressed
The ongoing pandemic is the center of attention right now. This deadly virus has put the whole globe in a state of emergency. Probably, one of the few beneficial things about this pandemic is that it underscored the flaws in national and global healthcare systems. It has also spurred the need for more awareness of public and personal hygiene and accessible healthcare for everyone.
The most effective way to stay safe during this pandemic is to follow provided guidance and precautions like physical distancing, wearing masks, and hand sanitization. Frontline healthcare professionals have been working tirelessly to fight this disease. Fortunately, vaccinations are underway, and things are looking better now.
Even the wealthiest nations suffer from food safety issues. Food safety refers to a lack of access to affordable and healthy food for the masses. A lack of fully serviced markets, poor urban planning, and lack of transportation have increased food deserts — communities with less access to nutritious and affordable food. Not to mention, the abundance of processed and GM-food too poses several health risks.
While the only visible effect of food insecurity is hunger, the results go beyond this. Malnutrition and food insecurity risk the physical and mental developmental processes of children. It also increases the chance for many chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and cancer. In addition, obesity increases the risk of many diseases such as heart diseases, which brings us to our next point.
Heart disease and stroke
Obesity implies higher chances of dying from coronary heart diseases, stroke, hypertension, and respiratory problems. Among these, heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide. Researches have proved that every 38 seconds, a person dies from cardiovascular disease. Alongside obesity, tobacco use and stress also play a significant role in the incidence of heart diseases.
The term ‘heart disease‘ implies several heart conditions, and unlike many other diseases, this health problem is preventable. Lifestyle alterations can significantly reduce the risk of developing heart-related issues.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the most dangerous sexually transmitted infection around the globe. Once this virus attacks a person, it strikes upon white blood cells in the body. This virus makes a person vulnerable to every other infection. If an HIV infection is not managed correctly, it leads to AIDS, which is incurable. In 2020, nearly 1.5 million people contracted an HIV infection.
Declining mental health has emerged as one of the most significant public health issues in recent years. And the pandemic has only made matters worse. Remote work and quarantine resulted in a decline in people’s mental health. People have been feeling distressed and isolated, resulting in an increased rate of depression and anxiety. Lack of awareness and stigma are the prime reasons why people often do not seek help.
Suggestions to reduce risk
Listed below are a few suggestions to reduce the risk of public health issues:
- People living in underserved populations usually don’t know about their diseases until it is too late. Such communities need to be educated, and testing services need to be made common.
- Raising awareness is the most crucial for reducing health concerns. Public health workers can raise awareness about issues through seminars, programs, brochures, and social media.
- There are gaps in our health systems that need to be identified and addressed. Governments must work with healthcare providers to fill these gaps to improve the access and quality of service.
- Regulate alcohol and tobacco consumption
- Access to nutritious and healthy food should be made possible for every person.
Several issues continue to affect our overall social, physical, and mental well-being. Some of these include viral infections, STIs, food safety issues, mental health, and cardiovascular disease. These issues can be addressed by taking a few initiatives. First, public health workers must spread awareness of these issues using the latest tech tools and digital platforms. Second, Healthcare and testing facilities must be made accessible and affordable for everyone. People should watch their alcohol and tobacco consumption. Last but not least, policy-makers must identify gaps within existing healthcare systems and fill them up with appropriate solutions to improve community health.