The Importance of Health Services
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is ‘a state of full physical, emotional and social well being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity.’ Various definitions have also been employed over the years for different purposes. Today, the primary definition of health is, ‘exceeding the quality of the person’s life in relation to health.’ This definition is the one most often used in governmental frameworks, but it is also the least understood.
In its simplest terms, the third definition of health is, ‘the absence of conditions or diseases bringing harm’. In other words, health is not a condition, but a state of well-being. The second definition of health is, ‘being able to carry out the activities that others can do without the need for assistance’. In this definition, disability is not included in the definition of health.
The challenge for public health is to ensure that it reaches all the people who need it. This involves ensuring access to quality health care, community-based prevention and treatment of health problems, as well as promoting general well-being. All these aims are combined in the effort to promote good health. For instance, public health focuses on preventing diseases that may be life-threatening. It also takes into account aspects such as nutrition and education, environmental cleanliness and maintenance of the environment, population management and community integration.
Mental health on the other hand, has to do with an individual’s ability to cope with day to day life. It is also related to his capacity to contribute to his community. Some of the major components that make up the framework of mental health are the ability to understand and manage one’s mental health, coping skills, self-esteem, assertiveness and communication. These may seem very technical and there have been recent developments in the field of psychology that have made it possible to address some of these issues more comprehensively. The importance of mental health, therefore, cannot be underestimated.
Another important health issue is that of communicable diseases. Communicable diseases include Hepatitis, HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and various forms of cancer. These diseases can be fatal if not treated effectively, so the concern over them is high among the population. Public health aims to address these communicable diseases by implementing various strategies. These include creating safe environments, maintaining personal hygiene, educating the population about safe sex, testing for these diseases, and providing medications to those who are infected.
Finally, another important health issue that the public must be concerned about is the overall health of the society as a whole. Although the various diseases that society is confronted with individually may not pose a threat to the organization itself, when considered as a whole, the impact can be deadly. This is especially true in diseases that are communicable or treatable. As the population grows, the need for efficient and affordable health services will also grow. This will require a greater investment in resources by both the government and the private sector, and these investments will only result in positive long-term benefits for the population as a whole.