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Public health can be referred as community health. It involves the science and practice of community hygiene; which includes preventive medicine, health education, sanitation and environmental safety. To maintain communities' health, the public health system works to put off epidemics and the spread of the disease, foster and strengthen healthy behaviors and mental health, prevent injuries, protect against environmental hazards, assure quality and accessibility of health services and respond to disasters and assist communities in recovery (Turnock B., 1997). Public health system is a large network of personnel, systems and organizations working at the local, state and national levels and its primary emphasis on preventing disease and disability, and it focus on the health of the entire population.
The public health structure is the core foundation that supports the delivery, planning and evaluation of public health practices and activities. There are three key components of the public health infrastructure are; public health workforce, information and data systems and organization capacities of health departments and laboratories (Demetrius J.P., 2004). Skilled public health workforce will ensure that each community is served by a well trained, culturally competent public health team, representing the optimal combination of professional disciplines. A robust information and data system will ensure that each health department will be able to electronically access and distribute public health information and emergency health alerts, assist in the detection of emerging public health problems and monitor the health of communities. Effective health department will ensure that each health department and laboratory meets primary performance and accountability standards that acknowledge their population base including geography, census and risk factors with specific needs identified through state public health improvement plans (Demetrius J.P., 2004).
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Kenya is a developing country which does not have a stable public health infrastructure. There are a number of factors which affects Kenya's public health infrastructure such as rural-urban and regional imbalances, personnel shortage and lack of investment just to mention a few. To enhance the public health infrastructure in Kenya, there are number of issues which should be addressed.
Vaccination of any disease which can be immunized should be carried out now and then to avoid unnecessary spread of these diseases. Vaccination can eradicated some of the diseases in Kenya such as poliomyelitis, measles and diphtheria. When the infectious diseases are eliminated we will have a healthier nation which is able to contribute to the well being of the country's economy.
Motor-vehicle safety is very necessary in everyone's life. To improve motor-vehicle safety Kenyan government should only allow imports of vehicles which are safer for human beings to operate. There should be engineering effort to make the Kenyan highways safer to drive on them. Another crucial factor to enhance the motor-vehicle safety is efforts to change personal behavior. These personal behaviors include; increased use of safety belt, unnecessary over speeding, wearing a motorcycle helmet and driving while drunk. These efforts will contributed to substantial reductions in motor-vehicle-related deaths.
Safer and healthier foods are vital to our well being of our bodies and prevention of some diseases. Food programs to educate the public on nutritional deficiency diseases should be introduced in Kenya so that the public can understand the importance of eating a balanced diet food. Eating healthier food will help to eliminate nutritional deficiency diseases rickets, goiter and pellagra in Kenya. The food programmes should also enlighten the public on the important of eating safer food in order to avoid food poisoning and microbial contamination.
Family planning is another factor which contributes to a better public health infrastructure.
Access to contraceptive and family planning services will help to control the ever rapidly increasing population of Kenya. When the size of the population is well controlled, the public health system will be able to cater for the minimal number of population than a larger population which has no enough resources. These family planning and contraceptive services will affect the social and economic roles of women positively. Family planning will provide health benefits such as smaller family sizes and fewer infant, child and maternal deaths. Contraceptives will help to prevent pregnancy and transmission of HIV and other STDs.
Fluoridation of drinking water is very important because it takes care of our dental formula.
Fluoridation is the controlled addition of fluoride in public water so as to control tooth decay. All sources of public water in Kenya should be fluoridated to control tooth decay of both adults and children. Fluoridation safely and cheaply benefits both children and adults by efficiently preventing tooth decay, regardless of their social and economic status or access to care. Fluoridation also prevents tooth loss in adults.
Continued misuse of antibiotics in Kenya has led to drug-resistant strains of major microbes that cause infectious diseases including malaria, Gonorrhea and tuberculosis. Kenya should try to use advanced technologies and new drugs to treat these diseases. The government should make sure that all the ineffective drugs are not used any more.
Environmental and ecological changes are factors which have affected Kenyan public health system tremendously. Some of the factors which cause these changes are; Deforestation, irrigation, and patterns in agricultural production and pesticide use. To rejuvenate the environment the public should be educated on the importance of afforestation and tree planting programmes should be introduced in the country. The public should be trained on agricultural practices to avoid the degradation of the environment.
Kenyan public health infrastructure lacks enough trained personnel to cater for the whole population. The ministry of health should provide enough finances to cater for public health training. The ministry should also provide modern equipment to institutions training the public health personnel. Well trained personnel will be able to investigate and identify any traces of danger to the community, May it be a disease outbreak or degradation of the environment which could pose a danger to the community.
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