Advances in Public Health Care

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In the last century there have been many advances in the division of public health. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the APHA (American Public Health Administration) have both been involved in the developments which have occurred in the last 10 years. The CDC published a list back on May 20, 2011 of the 10 nominated noteworthy public health achievements.

The ten recognized in no ranking order are vaccine-preventable diseases, prevention and control of infectious diseases, tobacco control, maternal and infant health, motor vehicle safety, cardiovascular disease prevention, occupational safety, cancer prevention, childhood lead poisoning prevention, and public health preparedness and response. The CDC also reported that the “life expectancy at birth among U. S. residents increased by 62%, from 47. 3 years in 1900 to 76.8 in 2000, and unprecedented improvements in population health status were observed at every stage of life” (CDC, 2011)

One of the biggest achievements in the last century was the advances in cancer prevention. Cancer has been one of the deadliest diseases, if not caught early it will progresses quickly and spread from the point of origin to other parts of the body, including the vital organs. In a publication by the MINNPOST the statistics of colorectal cancer deaths as well as breast and cervical cancer had drastically decreased.

Susan Berry wrote “From 1998 to 2007, colorectal cancer death rates decreased from 25. 6 per 100,000 population to 20. 0 per (2. 8% per year) for men and from 18. 0 per 100,000 to 14. 2 (2. 7% per year) for women. During this same period, smaller declines were noted for breast and cervical cancer death rates (2. 2% per year and 2. 4%, respectively)”(Perry, 2011) The advances in medicine to catch cancer early involved routine checkups and screening tests. Some of those tests include routine colonoscopies for patients starting at age 50 and regular pap smears for women at the age of 21 or who sexually active.

Along with younger girls and women being vaccinated for the HPV virus, which can lead to cervical cancer. Mammograms are now being performed at 35, 40, and then every year after a woman reaches the age of 50. All of these precautions have led to the drop in death rates of these cancers, that were once deadly killers. Another important advancement in public health in the last century was motor vehicle safety. The CDC states that motor vehicle accidents are among the 10 leading causes of death among citizens of all ages and the leading cause of death among people ages 5-34.

In terms of death of people under the age of 65 motor vehicle accidents came second only to heart disease and cancer. The CDC also states that although the rate of travel went up 8. 5% across the nation, the death rate decreased from 14. 9 per 100,000 population to 11. 0 per 100,000. The injury rate declined from 1,130-722. Motor vehicle accidents are incredibly easy to prevent. As technology progressed cars became safer as well as the roads on which the cars were driven due to new laws being passed.

For example as technology progressed it created more hazards. New laws are being created to prevent the increase in accidents from hand held phone use, and texting and driving. Also new laws have state that seatbelts must be worn by all passengers in the car, not just the front two seats. Liz Borkowski states in her article on the Pump Handle from 2011 that another reason there was a decrease in death rates was because of the laws regarding teens and graduated drivers licensing, and car-seat restrictions and laws. (Borkowski, 2011).

Although these decreases were incredible, as technology progresses law makers and car production companies will have to stay on top of safety concerns and hazardous conditions. One of the biggest advances made for families in the public health department was the prevention of childhood lead poisoning. Almost every home built before 1978 was constructed using lead paint. Lead paint affects mostly children under the age of 7, because their bodies and brains are still developing and sensitive to even the smallest amounts of lead.

Lead can cause a multitude of injuries in young children; including. These include learning disabilities, brain damage (sometimes subtle) loss of intellect, academic failure, neuropsychological deficits, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), hyperactive behavior, antisocial (criminal) behavior, neurological problems, encephalopathy (brain swelling), major organ failure, coma, and even death. All these problems occur through an accumulation of lead, from the paint being ingested by infants, toddlers and children.

This problem mainly occurs in low income families living in poorly maintained housing and in poverty. This occurs because the paint in the homes was not updated since the 70’s when lead based paint was legal. In the early 90’s only 5 states had laws regarding lead poisoning prevention. By 2010, 23 of the 50 states had laws about the paint, as well as federal laws protecting against lead paint poisoning. Most of the laws including the ones in Maryland, state that before a home, apartment building or residence can be sold or rented to a family or individual, it must be inspected for lead paint.

If lead paint is present in the residence, it must be sanded off, and then repainted with a safe and nontoxic paint. Although most people don’t consider occupational safety as a “health concern” the CDC had occupational safety improvements one of their top 10 advances in public health for the last century. For example, out of the 1. 8 million injuries in health care workers in back problems. This is caused from the lifting of patients in nursing homes, hospitals, and residential care.

The CDC stated in its article “Following widespread dissemination and adoption of [a best practices patient-handling program that includes the use of mechanical patient-lifting equipment] by the nursing home industry, Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed a 35% decline in low back injuries in residential and nursing care employees between 2003 and 2009”. (CDC, 2011)

Not only does this practice prevent workers from being injured but also helps prevent injuries to patients from being mishandled by health care providers. Another main achievement in the last century was the advance in vaccines and their prevention of diseases.

New vaccines such as rotavirus, pneumococcal conjugate, quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate, herpes zoster, and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines along with the tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (for teens and young adults) have been created to help with the spread of diseases. The HPV vaccine was a major advancement since HPV had become one of the most widely spread STD’s in the nation. The vaccine is important because there is no way of knowing if the virus is present unless warts are present, and no way of testing for it on males or females, unless the warts themselves are visible.

Also the cancerous strand mentioned in the earlier paragraph is only detectable in certain stages, which is detected through a routine pap smear. Many teens and young adults practice unsafe sex leaving themselves susceptible to multiple STD’s along with the silent one known as HPV. Most young men and women are encouraged to get the leading HPV vaccine Gaurdasil. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was a major advancement for those with immunosuppressant diseases, infants, and the elderly.

As people get older, or are diagnosed with immunosuppressant diseases such as Lupus or diagnosed with cancer, it makes it harder for their bodies to fight off infection and harder for them to recover. Whereas infants t not have built up a strong enough immune system to fight off such strong virus, leading to hospitalizations or complications. The CDC states in their report, “Following the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, an estimated 211,000 serious pneumococcal infections and 13,000 deaths were prevented during 2000—2008” (CDC, 2011).

Their report talks about advances in older vaccines, such as Hepatitis A, B and Variella, which caused these diseases to be at record low by the end of the decade. In addition age specific mortality from varicella of people under the age of 20 declined by 97% from 0. 65 before the vaccine to 0. 02 during 2005-2007. These vaccines are not only important for those having risk factors of a higher mortality rate from the viruses but, also for their close family and friends who may be carrying a dormant disease and pass it on without knowing.

The APHA founded in 1872, is one of the oldest and most diverse organizations of public health in the world. Its primary goal is to protect all Americans and their communities from serious preventable health threats. APHA strives to assure community-based health promotion, disease prevention activities and preventative health services are universally accessible in the United States. It represents a broad array of health care providers, educators, environmentalists, health officials, and policy makers at all levels within and outside educational institutes and governmental organizations.

Although the APHA organization recognizes that the CDC has made major advancements they state “To reach the nation’s full potential, we must harness the public health tools and resources we know work and strengthen our investment in these proven disease prevention and health promotion activities,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA. “This list is an excellent start, but I believe the greatest potential to improve the nation’s health is yet to come.

I trust that as a nation we can inspire future advancements in research and policy and seize on opportunities to save even more lives and reduce suffering caused by preventable disease and disability in years ahead. ” (Georges C. Benjamin, 2011). This reemphasizes that although large steps are being made to better the public health field, there are still major advances which need to be made, including a cure or better maintenance for HIV/AIDS. References Borkowski, L. (2011, May 24). The Pump Handle. Retrieved from Science Blogs: http://scienceblogs.

com/thepumphandle/2011/05/24/public-health-achievements-in/ CDC. (2011, May 20). Center for Disease Controol and Provention. Retrieved from Moridity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR): http://www. cdc. gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6019a5. htm Georges C. Benjamin, M. F. (2011, May 19). Amerian Public Health Association. Retrieved from www. apha. org: http://www. apha. org/about/news/pressreleases/2011/public+health+achievements. htm Perry, S. (2011, July 22). Minn Post. Retrieved from http://www. minnpost. com/second-opinion/2011/07/10-noteworthy-public-health-achievements-21st-century

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