Grand challenges for public health

Fleming, Mary Louise (2015) Grand challenges for public health. In Fleming, Mary Louise & Parker, Elizabeth A. (Eds.) Introduction to Public Health [3rd Ed.]. Elsevier, Australia, Chatswood, N.S.W., pp. 377-393.

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What is the future for public health in the twenty-first century? Can we glean an idea about the future of public health from its past? As Winston Churchill once said: ‘[T]he further backward you look, the further forward you can see.’ What can we see in the history of public health that gives us an idea of where public health might be headed in the future? (Gruszin et al. 2012).

In the twentieth century there was substantial progress in public health in Australia. These improvements were brought about through a number of factors. In part, improvements were due to increasing knowledge about the natural history of disease and its treatment. Added to this knowledge was a shifting focus from legislative measures to protect health, to the emergence of improved promotion and prevention strategies, and a general improvement in social and economic conditions for people living in countries such as Australia. Gruszin et al. (2012) consider the range of social and economic reforms of the twentieth century as the most important determinants of the public’s health at the start of the twenty-first century (Gruszin et al. 2012 p 201). The same could not, however, be said for second or third world countries, many of whom have the most fundamental of sanitary and health protection issues still to deal with. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa and in Russia the decline in life expectancy can be said to be related to a range of interconnected factors. In Russia, issues such as alcoholism, violence, suicide, accidents and cardiovascular disease could be contributing to the falling life expectancy (McMichael & Butler 2007). In sub-Saharan Africa, a range of factors, such as HIV/AIDS, poverty, malaria, tuberculosis, undernutrition, totally inadequate infrastructure, gender inequality, conflict and violence, political taboos and a complete lack of political will, have all contributed to a dramatic drop in life expectancy (McMichael & Butler 2007).

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ID Code: 94720
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
ISBN: 9780729542036
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Deposited On: 11 Apr 2016 03:27
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2016 00:08

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