What is Public Health?

Public health is simply the health of a large group of people. This health is usually measured by a central agency and the population can be of a city, state, or country. However, a growing field of importance is international public health. This is one of the most significant areas of public health because it involves nations on a wide spectrum of healthcare efficiency. There are nations that worry about degenerative diseases, various cancers, and extending the life expectancy past eighty. On the other hand, there are nations struggling to vaccinate their children and are still battling infectious diseases that have been eliminated just across the ocean decades ago. Consequently, having an agency that monitors, reports, and recommends certain programs to improve international public health is a high priority in our globalizing economy. The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control regularly make comprehensive analyses of international health and possible epidemics.

While important, one central agency does not have to be responsible to address public health. There are ample private enterprises, such as the Gates Foundation, that seek to improve the quality of life of people in disadvantaged areas. Thus, these organizations are also involved in the larger goal of improving public health on a social level. Finally, it is worth noting that although public health is the overall health of a population, individuals make up this population and, thus, are directly affected by public health policies (or lack of). Individuals cannot isolate their own health and quality of life from the public health of the area they are living because the policies implemented to improve public health will directly improve their own standard of living. On the other hand, lack of strong and effective policy to improve public health would lower the standard of living of all individuals within that population. In conclusion, public health is significant because it interconnects the health of all humans in our increasingly connected world.

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