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Public health is an essential aspect of healthcare. Professionals work to improve the welfare of communities by preventing and managing existing issues and educating people on best wellness practices. Several issues, like long COVID, mental and emotional health, climate change, cardiovascular diseases, lower respiratory tract infections, etc., impact individuals’ health worldwide and needs to be tackled with a focused approach. Health systems need to be strengthened globally to improve their resilience, and countries worldwide are refocusing their resources post the critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. TAUs public health courses give importance to research and practical exposure in addition to theoretical lessons, which equips you to develop suitable strategies to address various complexities.
Public health is an essential aspect of healthcare, adopting preventive measures to curb diseases and ensure the well-being of global populations. Professionals in this field work to improve the welfare of communities by preventing and managing existing issues and educating people on best wellness practices. Professionals eager to pursue a career in the field can pursue public health courses that will enable them to function effectively and become frontrunners with exposure to emerging trends and best practices.
While we step into the new year with several issues impacting individuals’ health worldwide, let’s look at some of the critical issues which need a focused approach:
1) Long COVID:
Its been four years since the onset of COVID-19, and we are still reeling under its impact with no end in sight. When infected, it disrupts individuals from leading an active life and makes them disengage from school, work, or relationships for months. Individuals with long COVID need proper diagnosis and rehabilitative care, increasing the need for more research, effective treatments, and preventive actions to reduce the risk of developing long COVID.
2) Mental and Emotional Health:
Mental health is becoming a critical aspect as it severely influences individuals’ emotional and psychological well-being, affecting their physical well-being. Most mental health conditions are left untreated as they are not visible on the outside, and many people live with mental health conditions. The mental and emotional well-being of people worldwide is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, war, and violence.
The Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) study states that sexual abuse in children, domestic violence, and bullying have increased the risk of mental disorders, which varies across regions, and are designing measures to prevent such issues within communities. It’s one of the leading causes for disability and the third leading cause of suicidal deaths, with professionals working on their toes by drafting measures and their responses to tackle this on high priority by analyzing and understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, war, and violence on mental health. The curriculum of TAUs public health courses gives importance to research and practical exposure in addition to theoretical lessons, which equips you to develop suitable strategies to address various problems.
3) Climate Change:
Climate change is impacting the health of millions of people globally. It is anticipated to worsen throughout this century, with people experiencing direct effects of extreme heat and several indirect effects. Floods displace people from their homes, drought and storm cause food and water scarcity, and wildfire and smoke pollute the air leading to breathing troubles. COVID-19 has made people realize the importance of being prepared, and we are far from being prepared to tackle any health threats due to climate change. The steps taken to minimize emissions causing global warming were inadequate, and now with rising health risks due to the effects of climate change, we need to be prepared to reduce the impact on global well-being by adapting or enhancing resilience.
The impact of climate change will affect vulnerable sections of society. It’s vital to improve overall health and socioeconomic development; technological solutions like using drought-resistant crops, increasing vegetation in cities to reduce the urban heat island effect, or repurposing land use to adapt to rising sea levels can enable us to adapt better.
GBD studies reflect that 8% of global mortality is due to air pollution. Rapidly addressing and minimizing carbon emissions will help save lives.
4) Cardiovascular Diseases:
Cardiovascular diseases like ischemic heart disease and stroke accounted for 28% of total death in 2021 and significantly affect health and increase the economic burden on healthcare systems. Managing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diet, smoking, and air pollution help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
5) Lower Respiratory Tract Infection:
Lower respiratory infections (LRI) like Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and influenza are issues healthcare professionals need to be prepared to handle in 2023. With social distancing and mask use, the mitigation measures adopted to tackle COVID-19 minimized the spread of influenza and RSV infections. Relaxation in these preventive measures has boosted RSV and influenza outbreaks, increasing infection risk in children with no exposure to these viruses in the past couple of years. Vaccines for influenza are available, but vaccines for RSV are still in the developmental phase.
6) Role of Poverty in Health:
The impact of poverty on the health needs to be addressed quickly since poverty, climate change, and increasing violence have boosted inequity in health and the distribution of resources. The health outcomes of low-income countries have declined, lowering life expectancy and increasing the mortality rates of children under five years, interpersonal violence, suicidal deaths, and deaths due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
7) Strengthening Health Systems:
Health systems need to be strengthened globally to improve their resilience, and countries worldwide are refocusing their resources post the critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial assistance and long-term commitment are need-of-the-hour from donors and governments – financial and human resources, governance structures, management, and information systems to sustain interventions and improve delivery outcomes across the system as anticipated.
With the pandemic’s learnings, public health leaders and policymakers must ensure that the health system doesn’t collapse during the next crisis and equity in healthcare access. COVID-19 has strained primary care centers and hospitals for the past couple of years, and it’s vital to strengthen healthcare systems and improve the effectiveness of healthcare delivery by frontline workers. Enrolling in public health courses is a perfect choice for professionals looking for career growth. It enhances your mastery of critical aspects with a hands-on approach enabling you to work in transformational leadership roles.
Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death, increasing daily and affecting diverse age groups and populations worldwide. The best way to deal with diabetes is population-based interventions, informative food labels, built environments to facilitate exercise, awareness, and education of diabetes risks, and guidance to tackle risk factors by improving lifestyle and diet. Masters in public health is an intermediate program that gives you deep insights to design policies to help the population avoid weight gain, improve the quality of their diet and improve access to quality healthcare services and systems like affordable insulin and oral anti-diabetic medication to reduce complications and mortality.
9) Road injuries:
Road injuries are the leading cause of mortality between 15-49 years old preventable in most cases. Preventive measures like wearing helmets, and seatbelts, maintaining speed limits and placing airbags in vehicles, framing laws discouraging alcohol-induced driving, and ensuring adherence to these policies to make them effective are vital to prevent complications and mortality with accidents.
Studies reflect that worldwide the number of people affected by dementia is expected to rise due to trends in the growing and aging population which stresses the importance of why the healthcare sector needs to focus on dementia. To provide adequate care to affected people, appropriate planning and interventions to educate and create awareness of smoking, alcohol consumption, high blood sugar, sedentary lifestyle, air pollution, depression, etc., increase the possibilities of bringing down the societal burden.
11) Aging Population:
Health systems should be adapted to support the aging population. Worldwide the proportion of people above 65 years is expected to increase in the forthcoming years. It is vital to systematically prepare for health threats that affect the older population, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Global healthcare systems traditionally have focused on diseases that affect children.
TAU’s Public Health bachelor’s degree is an entry-level program that helps you gain expertise in critical areas of public health and equips you to excel professionally in your roles with research and project management exposure.
Master in public health is an intermediate program that builds your skillsets to influence public health policies and develop ingenious solutions to healthcare complexities, including ways to handle chronic and infectious diseases. What’s exciting about these programs is the flexibility to enroll full-time, part-time, or online, which have equal importance and are globally recognized.
TAU offers the best public health courses in Zambia, which enable you to explore various career pathways. The program fosters your efforts to improve the well-being of communities, function efficiently, and excel in your job roles.