"Roles of Different Agencies in Identifying Levels of Health and Disease in Communities" is an engrossing example of a paper on the health system. The task of identifying levels of health and disease in communities is a shared responsibility that is played among a number of agencies in the larger public health sector. This is because according to Detels, Beaglehole, Lansang, and Gulliford (2010), health and disease identification in communities is part of public health, which is also part of the public health system. From figure 1 below, it would be noted that there are as many agencies as possible that come together to form the public health system.
As a system, the implication that is drawn is that there are roles that are interrelated rather than independent that has to be performed if the actual levels of health and disease in communities can be identified. Even though the public health system embodies as many agencies as possible, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (2014) categories the agencies into three namely public, private and voluntary entities. The public entities are made up of organizations and institutions whose major funding comes from the central government, whereas the private entities encompass people and groups who undertake public health service with their own funding but for financial gains.
The voluntary entities are basically charity organizations. Fig 1: The Health Care System Source: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (2014) According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (2014), there are 10 major roles that the agencies identified above can play in identifying levels of health and disease in various communities. These roles can further be broken down into three as shown in fig.
2. The first role has to do with assessment, which entails the practice of going down to the communities takes both qualitative and quantitative measurements of the state of health and disease (Thornbory, 2009). The assessment role makes it possible for the agencies to come to terms with the actual situation on the ground without resorting to speculations and hearsay. The second role is the role of policy development, which requires the agencies to base on the results of their measurement and data collection to formulate policies that address the direct needs of the people of the communities according to the levels of state of health and disease.
The last role deals with reassurance, which would be noted to be a crucial moment when the policymakers can give assurances to the communities that not only were levels of health and disease measured by that drastic solution-based actions were taken and that the situations on the ground would improve (Detels, Beaglehole, Lansang and Gulliford, 2010). Fig 2: 10 Essential Public Health Services Source: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (2014) The epidemiology of the widespread infectious and noninfectious disease Hepatitis B is one infectious disease in the United Kingdom that has generated a lot of attention over the years.
Statistically, there are different trends of data that can be given on the epidemiology of the disease in terms of geographic distribution, incidence rates, trends, vulnerable groups, causes, mode of spread and controls. A summary of these data as given by Public Health England (2013) has been presented in the table below Disease Geographic distribution Incidence rates Trends Vulnerable groups Causes Mode of spread Controls Hepatitis B Reported most in London, North West, South East, and Yorks & Humber National reported rate of 2011 is 589 Rates were higher in the 1980s but dropped significantly in the 1990s but rose again toward the end of the 1900s and early parts of 2000.
Now the rates have started dropping as shown in fig 3. Higher rates among those with sexual exposure and injecting drug use infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) Vaginal intercourse, Anal intercourse, Blood-to-blood contact, and Perinatal transmission Immunization and Early antiviral treatment Fig 3: Laboratory Reports of Hepatitis B in England and Wales Source: Public Health England (2013, p.
163). Unlike hepatitis B, Diabetes mellitus type 2 is noninfectious but continues to trouble a good number of people in the United Kingdom. This has led to much attention given to the disease by various agencies responsible for public health education and control. In the table below, a summary of statistics on the epidemiology of Diabetes mellitus type 2 as pertains to the United Kingdom is given. Disease Geographic distribution Incidence rates Trends Vulnerable groups Causes Controls Diabetes mellitus type 2 The geographic breakdown for various countries is given as follows: England 5.1%, Northern Ireland 4.5%, Wales 4.6%, and Scotland 3.9% The incidence rate in the UK is pegged at 4%, with the rate of diagnosis equated to three people every 10 minutes. The number of people found with the disease has increased from 1.4 million in 1996 to a current figure of 2.6 million People over 65 years of age, people who are overweight, identical twins, smokers, people who are physically inactive Lack of insulin Healthy dieting, lowering of blood sugar levels, sufficient sleep on empty stomach, sufficient exercising Adapted from Diabetes UK (2010) Effectiveness of different approaches and strategies to control the incidence of disease At the community level, there are different approaches and strategies that are taken towards the control of the incidence of diseases.
Four of the commonest ones identified by Thornbory (2009) are surveillance, education, environmental control, and immunization. Surveillance has been used within communities as an oversight strategy that is aimed at gaining first-hand information about specific diseases and acting towards the disease according to information available from the surveillance program. The strength of this approach is that it is preventive in nature as agencies responsible for control are able to detect disturbing trends at a very early stage.
It is however weak for the fact that it cannot be used over a very large research base. Education has also been used to give the public sufficient information about what they need to know about specific diseases. This is an effective control approach because it empowers people to take their health in own hands (Public Health England, 2013). With the saying that knowledge is power, it would be noted that education empowers people because it gives them much knowledge of their health. Environmental control is another popular approach to controlling the disease.
This may also be praised for the fact that it is both preventive and contingent. For most diseases that are environmentally oriented such as those that are spread through environmental factors like sanitation, pollution, and weather, using environmental controls helps in stopping the further spread of existing diseases (Detels, Beaglehole, Lansang and Gulliford, 2010). Environmental controls are also effective when used to prevent the spread of environmental diseases in certain communities from spreading to other communities nearby. This notwithstanding, environmental controls cannot be used to cover a lot of diseases at a time.
Lastly, immunization is an effective way of preventing most diseases, both infectious and non-infectious. Names of such diseases in communities are polio and hepatitis B. Immunisation has also been used for a long time as an effective way of eradicating the disease from a community altogether. This notwithstanding, it is a major limitation to rely so much on immunization as the number of diseases that can be controlled through this means is limited.
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). The Public Health System and the 10 Essential Public Health Services. [Online] Available from http://www.cdc.gov/nphpsp/essentialservices.html [February 24, 2014]
Detels, R. Beaglehole, R. Lansang M.A. and Gulliford M (2010). Oxford Textbook of Public Health. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Diabetes UK (2010). Diabetes in the UK 2010: Key statistics on diabetes. [Online] Available at http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Documents/Reports/Diabetes_in_the_UK_2010.pdf [23rd February 2014]
Public Health England (2013). Green Book. Centre for Infectious Disease and Surveillance Control: Wales
Thornbory, G. (2009). Public Health Nursing. Wiley Blackwell: London.