Professionals in the field of public health aim to enhance the well-being of society as a whole through their efforts. These health officials work tirelessly to improve the lives of as many people as possible by reducing the prevalence of preventable diseases and treating those already suffering.
A Look Into The Role Of Public Health Professionals In Healthcare
The importance of public healthcare workers to a healthy society has been highlighted in recent years. Because of their tenacity and commitment, people have faith even in difficult circumstances. All of their hard work has resulted in increased attention to health.
Invasion by a new illness can have devastating effects on a population. Timely intervention by public health specialists is essential for minimizing the impact and spreading awareness of these threats. The students learning to become public health professionals get the training and knowledge to work and improve various aspects of public health.
With the rise of these public health issues, more and more professionals are looking to advance in their careers to serve the community better. It has also been made easier with the availability of online education, where professionals can advance their education while working by enrolling in an online MPH program and gaining adequate training to tackle these issues.
So, you can say that the goal of public health is to tackle the community’s well-being as a whole. But how does that happen, and what is the process behind it?
This article will look at the five-step approach to tackling public health issues.
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Identify The Problem
The first step in the 5 step process of tackling public health issues is identifying them. Timely identification is necessary, whether it’s a disease outbreak or lacking basic resources such as clean water in an area. To identify these issues, one must identify the relevant indicators of these issues first. The indicator of a problem is the standard or benchmark value that, upon falling above or below it, indicates something is wrong.
A great method taught for identifying indicators to students is known as the Nominal Group Technique (NGT). This technique allows groups to brainstorm as many direct and indirect public health problem indicators as possible and vote upon which ones to consult and track in detail.
Public health workers require access to data from many sources, such as public bodies, healthcare facilities and institutions, non-governmental organizations, and population surveys. Moreover, they also require knowledge of the stakeholders, i.e., the individuals for whom solutions and results are important. When it comes to identifying indicators, data collection is vital to back them up with accurate data and statistics.
Using these different tools, techniques, and knowledge, public health workers can move toward the next step in mitigating public health issues.
Find The Causes
Once you identify the problem, the next question which comes to mind is what caused or created the problem? The answer is that public health workers use what is known as risk determination. It is the process of determining the reasons contributing to the problem’s gravity. By way of example, if malnutrition is the problem at hand, the reasons contributing to such may be poor dietary intake, genetics, or lack of access to good quality produce.
Risk determination goes hand in hand with protective factors. These factors would make an individual or group less likely to be a part of the problem. For instance, if political unrest in a particular area is affecting the quality and span of life of its citizens, which preventative factors would contribute to less participation in the political unrest by citizens of the said area? Knowing these protective factors and the risks contributing to a problem allows public health workers to develop ideal solutions.
Create Solutions And Strategies
Now that the problems and their causes are evident, public health workers can begin brainstorming and creating solutions and strategies to rectify them. Let’s go back to the malnutrition example. The solutions and strategies to mitigate malnutrition would include:
- Creating dietary awareness.
- Providing greater access to good quality products through food aid programs.
- Putting individuals on certain dietary supplements to make up for the lack of nutrition.
Furthermore, not just the solutions and strategies that public health workers may come up with but also those suggested by locals and residents of the particular area of concern hold a lot of weight. Since the problems directly impact these individuals, they may know more about which solutions and strategies might be easier to apply and yield better results. In this way, an open dialogue is created between public health workers trying to mitigate a problem and those affected.
Put Strategies Into Action
Coming up with theoretical strategies is easy, but their implementation and execution is the part where many fail. That’s because things are easier said than done, especially when the public’s interest is at stake. So how do public health workers ensure that their theoretical strategies yield practical results?
They create a task force focused on and committed to fighting the issue. A task force includes public bodies, private institutions, and individuals holding power to give grants, organize fundraisers, and conduct meetings with officials. The combined efforts of the task force help bring solutions and strategies to life.
Even after implementing relevant strategies, evaluating their impact on mitigating or curbing the issues is imperative. Public health workers do these evaluations by tracking progress, conducting surveys, asking for relevant feedback from those affected by the problem, and using other health or social data that may show the positive or negative effects of the implemented strategies.
Evaluation and assessment is a process that takes time, technical know-how, and diligence. Public health workers do not have the unrealistic expectation of seeing results overnight. Instead, they use evaluations and assessments as a means of constantly tweaking, adding to, or removing from their strategies and solutions to yield favorable results in the long run. The evaluation and assessment also help determine what works and does not.
The protection of the safety, security, health, and well-being of humanity is what public health warriors wish to achieve. They do so by following the 5 step process explored above, which involves their expertise and the input and resources of multiple organizations and individuals. In this manner, they aid and assist in creating a better tomorrow for all.
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