It has not been quite long since people globally were subjected to the deadly COVID virus and were victimized by its infection. The manifestation of this virus was unpredictably dangerous which to date has left a sense of fear and a negative impact on people’s minds.
This recent pandemic has just not been a horrifying situation for me but ironically, it has also been an eye-opener for me, a path to insight. I have been working my way to make a place for myself in the medical fraternity for a few years now as a dental student. When it was time for me professionally to enter this field, I couldn’t thanks to COVID and I would literally thank this virus. Sitting at home in the quarantine, I couldn’t help but observe and witness on news channels researchers, scientists, and doctors working really hard to study and identify various strains of the virus, predicting the severity and increasing mortality in various geographical areas which in turn prepared doctors for the increase in the flow of patients.
This indeed left me fascinated – there are so many doctors who are working as front-line warriors, risking their own lives for the people. But on the other hand, behind the scenes are those people who have taken the responsibility to think of the community as a whole, to study and work to prevent and protect the entire world from infections so that our doctors do not have to drain themselves emotionally and physically. And this was the turning point in my life.
Public health, in common layman's terms, as the words suggest, talks about and focus on the health of a particular section of society as a whole. The manner in which doctors take up the responsibility of treating each patient’s symptoms individually, for public health workers consider the entire community as their patient as a whole and aim to research and study the geographical area and the root cause of the disease to completely eradicate it. This research helps the workers to interact with people, and understand their lifestyle and their mindset and this beautiful rapport helps them to assess the needs and wants of the people. They, therefore, address the holistic health of people.
Somehow, I personally believe that this career line is quite underestimated, especially in developing countries like India, where ironically it is required the most. More than its underestimation, I think people are not aware, especially in remote areas where the facilities of public health are required desperately, about public and community health as a career line. If given attention to it, public health can reach heights as a profession for upcoming and budding youth who in turn can bring, for instance, India as a country to the top of the graph with respect to poverty, education, health, and many more areas.
It has been seen in the past that public health policies and interventions, wherever executed have to lead to a positive impact and change in the health of the population. Many intervention strategies to create awareness about juvenile diabetes for instance, or to encourage children to have a healthy diet have proven to show results in the long run.
It has indeed rightly been said by Leana S. Wen, “Public health is a powerful tool to level that playing field, to bend the arc of our country away from distrust and disparities and back towards equity and justice.” For this powerful tool to show its effects, an effort should be taken to make the youth understand public health as a profession and the advantages it has to offer to the public. Public health is like an umbrella – it is very vast with so many branches including epidemiology, biostatistics, community health, etc. All of them work interdependently and have their own unique role and importance. Therefore, public health as a career line has a lot of scope to offer globally.
A smile is the most precious ornament of an individual. That beautiful smile that one witnesses after one offers help to the needy one is priceless and incomparable to any other materialistic incentive. Public health is indeed beautiful, since it makes us encounter so many people, lets us enter into their lives, and towards the end, allows us to taste the respect that people give us. Public health is a pioneering line – not only for professional growth but also for personal growth and achievement and therefore should be encouraged.