The growth of public health in India has been very slow owing to low public expenditure on health, very few public health institutes in India and inadequate national standards for public health education. However, there have been efforts in recent years to strengthen public health in India in
the form of launching the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), and upgrading of healthcare infrastructure. Still there is a long way to go.
World Health Organisation (WHO) states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease. Medicine or curative services is not the only soul contributor to health and well-being of population.
There are several other determinants of health which include environmental, biological, socio-economic factors, information and communication, availability of health services, utilisation of health services, and age structure of the population. “By influencing these factors or these determinants we may play quiet a substantial role in improving the health,” says L S Chauhan in his paper titled Public Health in India: Issues and Challenges.
According to another definition, public health is the art and science of protecting and improving the health of a community through an organised and systematic effort that includes education, provision of health services and protection of the public from exposures that will cause harm. According to Chauhan, public health approach is a holistic approach which encompasses all elements required for healthy living. It controls disease through health promotion, specific protection and by restoration and rehabilitation.
Besides, disease surveillance that informs about ongoing as well as emerging public health issues is a core public health function. Other important functions are developing partnerships, formulation of regulations/laws, planning/policies, and human resources development.
(Read the full article in March Issue of Safety Messenger Magazine 2016)