Public health aims to provide health services to individuals and the community in which they reside, learn, work, and play. The emergence of COVID-19 has placed a spotlight on public health.
Governments and experts seek advice as the world tries to navigate the pandemic. When people face problems like these, it’s easy to see public health issues as a problem only experts, organizations, and influential people can solve.
There are several ways to contribute to public health, whether you are good at crunching numbers, performing laboratory or field research, developing policy, or working directly with people.
You can work around the globe as a public health professional, address communities’ health challenges as a whole, and influence government policies that affect society’s well-being.
So, let’s check out what an individual can do to further public health. Are public health ethics crucial? And many more.
Health and Public Health
According to the World Health Organization, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being rather than the mere absence of disease or infirmity.” This is a pretty bold and ambitious definition and focuses not only on the physical aspect of health but also on the mental and social aspects.
And public health is the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organized efforts of society.
What Is Public Health Ethics and Why Is It Important?
So, let me first start by distinguishing public health ethics from the more commonly understood clinical ethics or medical ethics. So, public health ethics examines questions about the appropriateness, the rightness, or wrongness of actions, at the group level.
Medical ethics focuses on inter-individual issues. And there’s a relatively classic formulation of medical ethics that talks about four essential principles: autonomy, which is the capacity of individuals to decide for themselves what sort of things they want or don’t want in a medical context; benevolence, that is the ability to do good; nonmaleficence, not to harm others; and justice.
Clinical Ethics Related to Public Health
What distinguishes public health ethics from clinical ethics, or medical ethics is its broader focus on issues related to justice because justice relates to what is due to different groups of people within a society.
For some time, a classic public health ethics question has exercised me in my early research related to this issue: what role does the state or community play in an individual’s rights, and what level of control do they have?
We were asking citizens to suspend their mobility rights if they’d been in any way, potentially, exposed to the virus. So, quarantine, the public health officers, the medical officers of health, actually have the power, legislatively, to exert an incredible influence over individuals’ rights, such as their right to free movement.
Many of the issues in the field are about how those limits are balanced. They’re tight to communicate with others if they pose a risk. So, public health ethics deals with the interface between what a community owes an individual and what an individual owes a community.
Now, we live in a liberal democracy. Most humans who live in a liberal democracy believe that they have certain rights that can’t be abolished or overturned, or limited in any way. But public health has the power to restrict those rights if there is a legitimate reason because of some threats to public health.
Typically, those are infectious diseases, but you can see them in toxic exposures and any number of different contexts. So, all of those issues are critical public health issues/ People who have collective power versus individuals who might have certain rights. However, public health ethics is as old as public health itself.
What Can An Individual Do to Further Public Health?
Increasing the fortunes of public health does not require you to be a professional. Public health emphasizes prevention among large groups of people, emphasizing improving and protecting community health and well-being.
Most of us think about these roles until a crisis, such as a devastating hurricane, captures our attention. As a result of public health initiatives such as vaccination, family planning, and motor vehicle safety laws, life expectancy has increased by nearly 30 years in the United States.
There are several things that you can do to improve public health as an individual, including;
- Share And Promote Public Health Information
In this case, you can broadcast health messages through social media, mass media, or campaigns aimed at interpersonal, small group, or community levels.
Communication and education strategies aim to change people’s knowledge and behavior; for example, increasing risk perception, reinforcing positive behaviors, influencing social norms, and increasing access to support and services that can improve health.
Data sharing and information sharing play an important role in the prevention and control of infectious diseases.
- Volunteer for Public Health Promotion Programs
For global health-minded students, volunteering with or working with international organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, International Medical Corps, Oxfam, and Partners in Health may be an option.
You can also donate to these organizations if volunteering isn’t for you. It doesn’t matter how much you give. Everyone has a need. Volunteering and donating to public health causes is one of the best things you can do.
- Become A Visible Donor
The only way to recover for people whose organs have failed is to undergo an organ transplant. But they have to wait for an organ match before undergoing an organ transplant.
They quickly see donated organs as gifts of life. In addition to increasing the chances of treatment, being a registered donor also means giving someone a gift of hope and life.
In most cases, donations are made upon your death. You don’t need to become a donor after you die. Living donors are healthy individuals who donate a kidney or parts of the liver, lung, intestine, blood, or bone marrow.
- Volunteering for Public Health Endeavors
The public health industry could not function without volunteers. In addition to doctors and nurses who volunteer their expertise to free clinics, volunteerism has a broader impact.
There are many ways to support efforts, such as educating the public about health and safety issues, answering telephones at clinics and health hotlines, or delivering meals to seniors that don’t require health care experience. Some are here:
- Stay healthy
You should exercise. Eat healthy food. You should spend time with your family. Being healthy inspires others to be beneficial as well. You are also less likely to fall ill or spread diseases if you keep fit.
- Get vaccinated
Vaccinating protects both you and others. Make sure you are due for a flu shot each year by consulting your doctor. According to your age or health conditions, you may also be scheduled for vaccines to prevent potentially life-threatening illnesses, such as pneumococcal pneumonia.
- Take Health Education
A health education program can promote public education by informing the public about the importance of health and maintaining it.
Educating the people about health and ensuring that the public is aware of their health can only be accomplished if a person is fully cognizant of the concept of health.
Half knowledge is dangerous, which is why health education and choosing it as a career are both essential to public health.
To wrap up, I can say that public health is related to anything concerned with the public’s health. And through the above activities, a person can also personally seek out ways to help communities at risk of poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, and other factors.