public health n. The science and practice of protecting and improving the health of a community, as by preventative medicine, health education, control of communicable diseases, application of sanitary measures, and monitoring of environmental hazards.
- The American Heritage Dictionary
The collective personal health of a population is the public health. Social, cultural, economic, and political factors all contribute to the overall wellness of the community. Measuring the impact of diseases on population is prerequisite to determine effective ways to reduce the burden of illness. As individual longevity increases, frailty, chronic disease, and disability rise while physical, mental and cognitive capacities decline.1
Yes, you have arrived at the right destination, to “my blog” about nothing special, to be exact. Anyway, I’d love to share one beautiful thing that I witnessed in one particular clinic last Sunday. Generally, non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and asthma do not pose imminent threats to public health. In addition, they are not a major cause of morbidity, disability, and mortality worldwide but without effective interventions for the treatment and control, they can affect people lives especially in developing countries.
As an effort to help people suffering those diseases, a group of physician and general practitioners are integrated into team to deliver primary health care services at Mhan Kinn Monastery, Thar Kay Ta, Yangon. It is just a small service orientation action, which was founded 4 years ago to help needed patients. Funding mostly comes from the founder’s family and their acquaintances and the clinic opens every Sunday from 8 a.m to 12 a.m. The patient can get their blood sugar level tested either for free or for 500 kyats /person depending on ones’ socio-economic status. ECG can be tested if necessary. Then, based on the previous medical record and recent examination, the patient can get necessary medicines for coming week or weeks for free. Of course, the patient has to provide the used tablet covers to make sure their regular medication intake and to prevent potential fraud.
In my opinion, it simply functions to bridge the gap between patients and health resources, between communities and primary healthcare services. Access to care is increased when it provides free consultation and medicines for a week or more based on the symptoms. Overall, information, health education, and communication strategies concerning disease patterns and risk factors are still lacking in the community. Advocacy is extremely important in prevention and control of their diseases, as I can’t help but hearing their daily habits in life: smoking, lack of physical exercises, excessive consumption of unhealthy food ingredients, etc.
1. Markle W H. et al, 2007, Understanding Global Health, Mc Graw Hill, USA.