After working for almost 2 years in Public health arena in Bangladesh and having an MPH degree there, I am here at Karolinska Institutet to learn public health again! Why- I will discuss it some other time in my future blogs. Actually the more time I am giving in learning public health, the more I am getting lost. It’s so vast!
Most of the time, general people had/has misconceptions around “What does public health mean?” and “What do public health professionals do?” Our grandparents’ generation and some people from our parents’ generation think that, public health professionals only tell people to wash hands and use sanitary latrine! Or some of them think that they only work in poor parts of the world to give health services to the poor communities. Actually, my parents also thought the same when I told them that I want to be a public health expert. (Lucky me!!! Now their perspectives around public health is completely changed)
Are those senior people right about public health? Do we only do sanitation and tell people to wash their hands?
If you think deeply, you can find that we are actually surrounded by the public health interventions. Our society is now more civilized because of many public health practices! From the water you drink to the food you take, air you breath and office you work, you can find interventions that emerges from public health research to make your life easier and healthier.
The term “Public Health” consists of two “very big and difficult to define” words- “Public” and “Health”. When you think about public, then it’s really hard to define as there are people from different society, cultures and environment. Also, the word “Health” is very difficult to define as health is multidimensional and multifaceted. In short we can define it as such “…..art and science of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, communities and individuals….”
Meanwhile, I have found a very interesting video (only 3 minutes!) on YouTube explaining “What is public Health”. The video is made by Public health Wessex Training Group. It describes what public health professionals do to improve the health status of the community in a very concise and concrete way!
I wish, our teachers from Community Medicine at medical school would teach us public health in such interactive and easy way!!! (Definitely not memorizing the whole definition of public health given by C. E. Winslow in 1920!!)