This Is Public Health – and Why You Need It
You may not know this (though we try to stress it as much as possible here at RenewLV) but public health has dramatically improved the quality of our lives. You may not know this because you probably never paid attention to public health services.
Within the United States, an increase in life expectancy, reduction in child and infant mortality, and the reduction of communicable diseases have all been benefits of increased public health services. Preventative services – such as nutritional information, encouragement of physical activity, availability of immunizations, and access to prenatal care – have been pivotal in making us a healthier nation. But, unfortunately, as it stands, the US is not the healthiest nation in the world – we are at number 37. Why is this the case?
It may just be that many states and regions are lacking an adequate public health infrastructure. This seems to be significant concern in Pennsylvania, a state that ranks last in terms of the ratio of public health workers to the general population. And in the Lehigh Valley, where currently there is no bi-county health department, the residents living outside of the cities of Allentown and Bethlehem are especially at risk.
For example, there seems to be very little done in the way of restaurant inspections outside of the cities (at least, we don’t know how much is getting done – and given the latest story about the cleanliness of the Capitol cafeteria, I’m not optimistic). And we all know the extent to which the H1N1 situation played out regionally (where residents from all over the Valley flocked to both the Allentown and Bethlehem Health Bureaus).
Do you have any stories about public health in your daily life? Share them here. And learn more about the effort to establish a regional health department in the Lehigh Valley by visiting RenewLV’s Regional Health Intiative page.