Public health researchers focus on promoting healthy lifestyle choices and educating the public about the harms caused by smoking, high-risk drinking of alcohol and drug use. Policy and programs are put in place to prevent the outbreak and spread of disease, to ensure that communities have access to safe food, clean water and quality healthcare. Programs also help communities prepare for emergencies such as pandemics, fires or floods.
Burden of disease affects the poorest
Poor health infrastructure and spread of infectious disease disproportionally affects the poorest countries in the world and key groups and communities in a given country. Promoting equity, quality and accessibility are pillars of public health, with collaboration among government, community and private sectors working to lessen the burden of disease and improving the health outcome of all people and communities.
Examples of public health programs include:
- providing preventative health education – for example, targeting obesity, physical activity and tobacco reform
- delivering maternal and child healthcare – focusing on specific problems affecting women and children, for example access to quality healthcare during and after pregnancy and access to reproductive information
- implementing surveillance methods to prevent and respond to disease outbreaks – for example, providing and distributing insecticide-treated bed nets in countries affected by malaria.
Image caption: Public health in action.
Image credit: Burnet Institute