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Public Health Essay

2115 words - 9 pages

A key factor, for which the UK’s population growth can be attributed to, is the advancement within medicine and the increased understanding of the causes of disease and premature death. Public health has made transition through three significant phases: Industrial Revolution, Therapeutic Revolution and New Public Health. Through analysing and evaluating the conditions, services and breakthroughs within public health, this essay will review the contributions towards current strategies and services concerning public health.
During the industrial revolution, John Snow – a British physician, made a major breakthrough in his field of epidemiology. In 1854, he plotted the location of over ...view middle of the document...

Their work is confirmed through today’s methods and policies in the fight against disease.
In 2007, the UK Government were particularly concerned with the presence of avian influenza within the UK. So much so, that all vulnerable patients (pregnant women, children and the elderly) were sent letters to actively invite them for a vaccination against this strain, within months of the first reported case. It was reassuring to many of the population to experience the effective and proactive measures being taken with regards to communicable diseases. The epidemiology of this case led the investigators to the source and all necessary precautions were taken swiftly and effectively.
Further, positive impact came about with the development of vaccines. In the 1800’s, Edward Jenner was developing vaccines for communicable diseases. He discovered that cowpox made a suitable vaccine for smallpox. Smallpox has been so effectively vaccinated since, that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease has been eradicated, after it completed its extensive eradication programme in 1977. The basis of microbiology and immunology lives on in the biochemistry of medicine today. The immunisation against Cholera is deemed unlikely as today’s level of sanitation and hygiene precautions prevent any outbreaks. However, the vaccine can still be administered under certain circumstances, i.e. if you are an aid worker going to a refugee camp.
Vaccines were being developed in a time of industrialisation, when standards were still poor. While it was convenient that the factories could mass produce vaccines at little cost and time, it was also an era where hardship was notorious. People were following the work, migrating into the cities and causing overcrowding. Poverty-stricken families were treated badly, in dangerous factories with filthy, germ-breeding conditions; working long hours for little wages.
Another key figure, during industrialisation, is William Duncan (1805–1863): a physician who detailed a report to highlight:

His research initiated the Liverpool Sanitary Act (1846) through the local government, to promote public health as an essential service. This resulted in his appointment as the first Medical Officer of Health (MOH) for Liverpool (1947). He improved environmental hygiene and the population’s living conditions, by reducing the number of people living in unhealthy dwellings; subsequently reducing Liverpool’s annual general death rate by almost 25% in spite of the rapid rise in population. The success of being the MOH opened the door for further local authorities to follow.
Between 1850 and 1970 medical advances shaped the next phase of public health. The Therapeutic Revolution brought innovative changes to the general healing of illness. With increased acceptance and understanding that illness and medicine are a science, people started to reject doctors with religious or mystical powers, in favour of chemists and...

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