The Public Health Crisis

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Every day, the news goes on and on with updates on Covid-19 and the constant rise of those infected. As of today, there are 25,250 cases and 1,436 deaths in Ohio alone [1]. In the United States, there is a total of 1.36 million cases and 82,246 deaths [2]. These numbers are concerning to look at.

What can we do as citizens?

From a medical stance, public health is important because it secures a healthy population and ensures that citizens are protected from microscopic threats. As citizens, it is important to educate ourselves on public affairs and understand why health is important.

As global citizens, one important topic to consider alongside public health is the idea of herd immunity. Herd immunity is the idea that if enough people get vaccinated, then those who are immunocompromised may be safe due to the decreased spread of a virus. Overall, herd immunity is the reason why the creation of vaccinations is so dire during this time.

Why is public health underfunded?

Many of my friends in public health have emphasized the need for more investments in health care and the CDC. The reality is, the public health system has been greatly underfunded for quite some time. As of 2014, there had been a decline in the amount of funding for public health services by 17% when compared to funding in 2002 [3]. This is an astonishing drop, and this drop creates a decrease in anti-smoking programs, disease prevention, and vaccination efforts. These programs help save millions of lives and are in great need in 2020.

In the United States, it appears that public health has become a political agenda instead of a human right. In the near future, I foresee a major change to the medical system, as more emphasis will return back to patient care experience, and large corporations, as they start investing in public health and donating products to hospitals.

Overall, Covid-19 was eye-opening because health care workers spoke out about the lack of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as N95 masks. According to one research conducted in 2011, there is a clear relationship between positive ratings of care experience and the availability of resources and organization [4]. As a hopeful future physician, I hope to emphasize the need for health care resources to ensure patients have the best possible experience.

To finish, a lot of changes need to be made to our current public health system. It is a shame that monetary resources are not being invested in hospitals, patients, and health care workers. Once a vaccine is distributed to the public, I hope that people around the world consider the importance and need for public health programs in their respective communities.

Works Cited

[1] “COVID-19 Dashboard.” Overview, Ohio.Gov, 2020, coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/dashboards/overview.

[2] “Cases in the U.S.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 7 May 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html.

[3] “U.S. Public Health Funding Steadily Falling, New Study Shows.” Fred Hutch, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 12 Nov. 2015, www.fredhutch.org/en/news/center-news/2015/11/Public-health-funding-drop-hurts-prevention.html.

[4] Lamarche, Paul A et al. “Availability of healthcare resources, positive ratings of the care experience and extent of service use: an unexpected relationship.” Healthcare policy = Politiques de sante vol. 6,3 (2011): 46-56. doi:10.12927/hcpol.2011.22178

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