The public health infrastructure involves certain functional supports necessary for executing essential services within the public, formal sector framework domain. The information systems, work force competencies, communication systems and organizational values are equally important aspects of public health infrastructure (Bruce 2001). The infrastructure in the public health sector enables the institutions and entities that operate within the public health system and to some extent, the private sector health institutions to function in partnerships and independently. The other important aspects of public health include proper capacity in the epidemiology, surveillance and laboratory practice. This research gives a detailed insight into public health infrastructure.
It is important to note that when the public health infrastructure components are strong, then it is able to meet the health challenges and threats that face different populations because of the robust data and information systems coupled by very strong health laboratories and departments. The infrastructure needs to be in good condition at all times in need to meet the growing demand for health care services. However, the current public health infrastructure cannot effectively handle the global health threats and this scenario has prompted many nations to work towards improving their public health infrastructure (Bruce 2001). The United States public infrastructure has weaknesses in its structure that makes it unable to handle occupational hazards, environmental hazards and the spread of diseases effectively. The science base is another crucial component for public health since it informs the various states of conceptualization, maintenance, implementation and adaptation of public health programs and services.
The workforce in the public health system is very instrumental in giving necessary public health initiatives since the focus on both the populations and the communities' .The work force strive to ensure accessible and quality health services by applying their knowledge of biostatics and epidemiology. They also support the systemic change and use their ability to build coalitions in order to offer quality service to the public. The tasks public health workers transcends the individuals technical and professional skills incorporated in the public health system by the doctors, nurses, physicians, microbiologists , health educators , managers and others (Gebbie 2003). It is however, a matter of concern that the current workforce has no proper capacity and preparations necessary to meet the present day public health challenges and demands. The evolving health care system, the growing workforce diversity and other dynamics makes it necessary for the workforce to get comprehensive and continuous training and education. It is equally necessary to extend the licensing of public health workers. It is also important to boost the number of personnel in the public health system in order to enhance efficiency and meet demand (Gebbie 2003).
The information, communication and data system is another important component of public health infrastructure necessary for addressing the present day health challenges. However, the public heath system still relies on resource intensive system, characterized by telephone calls and paper-based reporting. The lack of access to proper communication networks and the gaps in the communication and information infrastructure hinder timely communications between public health agencies and the sharing of information concerning emerging health problems between private clinicians, public staff and other sources. The variability of jurisdictions in relations to their communication infrastructure and fragmentation of the surveillance system are some of the communication, infrastructure problems (Bruce 2001).
Research is very important in the public healthcare system hence the need to encourage and promote research regarding health promotion and disease prevention in order to enable promote evidence based decision making by the leaders in public health system. The financing of public health require an innovative approach that ensures that deserving programs such as research receive adequate funding (Bruce 2001). Through research, it becomes possible to develop the body of scientific knowledge and ensuring that knowledge translates into practice that is useful in the public health system. Laboratory infrastructure is important, personnel and equipment that are equally necessary for the public health services .it is therefore important foe the stakeholders in the public heath system to encourage access to reliable, timely and accurate environmental health and public health laboratory services in order to support public health infrastructure.
Intervention measures such as increased funding for the public sector is important in order to support the various components of infrastructure such electronic communications (Bruce 2001). The government should come up with initiatives that attract private sector investment in the public health infrastructure in order to enable the public health anticipate the health threats, avert mortality and morbidity. To improve the public health infrastructure, the government and other key stakeholders in the public health sector should address the challenges and gaps that exists in the data and information systems, the workforce competency and capacity, laboratories, organizational capacities of state and local health department.
In order to improve the public health infrastructure, it is important to adopt a performance-based capacity building approach. In this case, relevant institutions need to assess the capacity of both local and state level public health infrastructure by use of consensus performance standards, develop statewide improvement plans for public health infrastructure based on capacity assessment. The relevant government institution in partnership with other stakeholders should equally provide the technical assistance and core capacity grants necessary for closing the specific gaps (Bruce 2001).
In conclusion, it is important to note that public health infrastructure involves a complex web or organizations and practices. The public health system is not able to cope with the overwhelming demand for health and medical services because of various reasons such as the emerging drug resistant diseases, inadequate training for the public health workforce compromises their capacity, outmoded information and technology system, and the cutting back of services by the health departments due to poor funding.