Don’t we all hate to feel left out? We’re jealous when someone has something we don’t. Except when that “something” is a disease or medical condition.
Here’s a very short list of what you probably (hopefully) missed out on here in the U.S.A. thanks to your local, state and federal public health departments:
1.) Cholera – sanitarians inspect your water supply and ensure wells are safe, clean and secure
2.) Smallpox – vaccinations have eradicated
3.) COPD – air quality programs
4.) Salmonella – restaurant inspections
5.) Botulism – food processing plant GMPs and inspections
6.) Worker’s compensation – workplace OSHA safety standards
7.) Childhood brain injury – school safety inspections
8.) Lung cancer – tobacco education and cessation programs
9.) Plague – sanitary landfills eliminate rodent infestations
10.) e Coli – Childcare center standards and inspections
11.) Malnourishment – WIC program counselors
12.) Birth defects – nurse home visits for early prenatal care and screenings
13.) Life-threatening allergic reactions – food and drug labeling requirements
All these and so much more! (I haven’t even touched on the more controversial issues and services.)
We have given a lot of credit and appreciation – and rightfully so – to First Responders in our country the past 15+ years. But what about those professionals who prevent the need for first responders in the first place? The people who keep us safe and avert disasters that we never even know about; health inspector/sanitarians, public health nurses, nutrition educators, health educators, STD clinic and outreach workers, etc, etc, etc.
Public health workers are usually behind-the-scenes, not noticed unless things go wrong. When Ebola makes its way around the world and shows up in our cities or when mosquitoes carry Zika here from the Caribbean, people shout for the CDC to “do something!”
But they already have.
Fortunately we have systems and processes in place to handle outbreaks. We have good manufacturing and other safety requirements in place to protect us. We have ongoing research to help prevent disease. And we have inspectors willing to go where most fear to tread. It’s all part of public health. Public_Health_Infographic final (1) (1)
This is National Public Health Week. How about showing some appreciation for the amazing people who work every day to keep us safe and healthy?