For centuries, health has been regarded as a very essential and important topic. People do tend to define health in different ways, with some believing it to be the state of being physically fit and others believing it to be one’s ability to live comfortably. Some even go as far as to say that a healthy body is a key to happiness and success.
According to the World Health Organization, “health, as a condition of life, is the result of well-being. The term health implies a complete range of characteristics and functioning ranging from physical, psychological, social, and emotional aspects.” Various definitions have been employed over the years for different purposes. However, the ultimate goal is the promotion of good health, which includes both physical as well-being.
Both physical and mental health are vital parts of the equation for overall good health. However, the term public health is commonly applied to refer to the responsibility of all aspects of the public health system, such as prevention, assessment, treatment and education. Prevention is always better than cure, as some diseases do not show any symptoms until they have reached an advanced stage. By being aware of preventive measures, medical professionals can keep a large part of the current burden off of those who are already suffering from such diseases.
An example of a disease that falls under the category of public health is the fact that most people die from a heart attack during their middle age life course or later. By taking a close look at this definition, it becomes apparent that it does not include many diseases that are more of a consequence of other factors. For instance, the definition of “mild” would not include having cholesterol problems or being diabetic. Rather, it would simply mean being in good overall health.
Health Equity refers to the differences in quality of life across the population. As health equity becomes more pronounced, there will be pressure to address health equity issues in order to have access to health services and programs that actually improve health. The World Health Organization defines health equity as a policy that aims at improving the health of the less well-off while ignoring health of the more well off. Health Equity refers to three different structural barriers. These structural barriers can include discrimination on health grounds, unequal access to health programs and poor quality of health care.
The need for health services has never been greater. However, effective implementation of public health programmes is essential to realize good health. Health service delivery is only possible if there is an understanding of the existing social determinants of health, such as social class, gender and location. Therefore, it is crucial that health service providers to develop programs that address these social determinants. This will ensure that the right targets are set for achieving good health.