PART ONE Emerging Issues in Public Health
There are several emerging issues in public health and they could significantly impact current and future trends in public health. These issues include:
- Air pollution – air pollution has been linked to more than 6.7 million deaths in 2016 according to a study by the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) (Lancet Neurology, 2018). Air pollution and other forms of pollution contribute to poor health and disease as the air that people breathe has poisonous particles and liquid droplets that could inflammation and oxidative stress. Air pollutants have also been linked to the rise of neurological disorders such as dementia, cerebrovascular disease and other illnesses affecting brain health. Air pollution affect the current and future trends in that more diseases will be linked to air pollution and public health stakeholders might need to do more to minimize the risks associated with air pollution and other environmental risks.
- Re-emerging viral diseases – Ebola virus and viral diseases that were thought to have been controlled or managed in the past are evolving making them more lethal. For instance, the Ebola virus has mutated more than 350 times since it was first discovered in humans. In the 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the virus causing the disease was found to quickly mutate through error-prone replication and this has made it difficult for medical personnel and other public health officials to develop more effective interventions (Holmes, et al., 2017). This public health issues implies that Ebola outbreaks in future might be more widespread and fatal as it becomes more difficult to control the virus following its mutating nature.
- Shortage of health care workers – this is a major public health issue mainly in the developing world as there is an evident shortage of doctors, physicians, nurses and other medically trained personnel to address and manage issues related to health. This shortage is making developing countries unable to achieve health-related development goals and improve the health of a nation which is associated with positive economic growth (Miseda et al., 2017). While technology might help with this issue, more people will still need to be trained in various areas of health care delivery to provide the hands-on care. This issue affects the current and future public health trends in that the current health care workers might be too overwhelmed to manage conditions and outbreaks and this could hinder the attainment of universal health coverage.
PART TWO Community Health Forum
According to the CDC, there are hundreds of thousands of people that are considered to be homeless as a result of losing shelter, running away from domestic violence or other issues (CDC, 2019). The homeless and the working poor have generally poor health than the rest of the population in terms of physical health and mental health. Studies have shown that the homeless and the working poor have increased rates of HIV/AIDS infections, and are more prone to alcohol and drug abuse, tuberculosis and other illnesses. These health problems and other issues related to health that the homeless and the working poor face are as a result of a few factors including:
- Barriers to care – these people are largely uninsured and this makes it difficult for them to access even the basic care. The need for bed rest might be difficult to implement for the homeless and the working poor as they might not have beds or the time to rest.
- Inadequate access to food and shelter – good food is associated with good health and of the homeless and the working poor are not able to afford food, it might be difficult to manage health care conditions or even remain healthy.
- Limited resources – with limited resources, the working poor and the homeless are not able to access basic care services, preventive care or keep warm to prevent infectious and opportunistic infections. The lack of resources also prevents them from accessing health care and social services (Stafford & Wood, 2017).
Research has also shown that a significant portion of the homeless in the United States are veterans or people who have served in the military before (Stafford & Wood, 2017). These people are more at risk of becoming homeless than the rest of the population mainly because of the military service lifestyle that is accompanied by wartime trauma, combat and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). All these factors might contribute to drug and substance abuse, depression, unemployment and broken relationships that could all result in homelessness.
Homelessness could also increase the likelihood of developing different health conditions such as:
- Skin diseases because of poor hygiene and inadequate protection from such infections.
- Trauma that could result from physical assault or sexual assault.
- Worsening of minor health problems – for instance, homeless people with varicose veins often sleep upright and this worsens the condition by causing swollen legs that could result in open lacerations.
- Malnutrition – because of inadequate resources, the working poor and the homeless might not be able to afford healthy food and this might result in malnutrition.
- Other health problems might include parasitic infestations, degenerative bone disease, venereal diseases, alcoholism and drug abuse, and dental diseases (APHA, 2017).