- Every year, the first week of April has been celebrated as National Public Health Week- an initiative by the American Public Health Association.
- Though it is not the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential to consider that such emergencies are going to be a part of our lives and we need to learn how to live with them.
- This year let’s celebrate this occasion by looking at some issues that need attention and discover new ways for future generations to mitigate the intensity of these issues.
Every year since 1995, the American Public Health Association (APHA) celebrates National Public Health Week (NPHW) in the first week of April. The event is celebrated as “APHA brings together communities across the United States to observe NPHW is a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health”. The Biden Administration announced on the 1st of April 2022 that the NPHW marks the calendar from 4th April 2022 to 10th April 2022 and calls on all communities, policymakers, public health professionals in both government and non-profits to come together and celebrate this week. I am going to elaborate on a few topics like APHA which put forth the following NPHW daily themes for the year 2022:
- Racism: A Public Health Crisis (Monday)
- Public Health Workforce: Essential to our Future (Tuesday)
- Community: Collaboration and Resilience (Wednesday)
- World Health Day: Health is a Human Right (Thursday)
- Accessibility: Closing the Health Equity Gap (Friday)
- Climate Change: Acting for Equity (Saturday)
- Mental Wellness: Redefining the Meaning of Health (Sunday)
Racial disparities and health equity have been the top priorities, we all have learned so many lessons in the past 2 years with the COVID cases, infectious spread, inaccessible health services, confusing insurance coverage policies, and hospitalizations by race. The statistics of these issues make it easier to say that we need to rethink and research more about the topic of “social determinants of health”. The place where we live, the community/ people around us, the place where we buy food, the transportation, health services around us determine our health and well-being. The visualization below identifies that people of color have experienced COVID-related hardships at an increased rate. To avoid generational racial disparity and to achieve long-term recovery from the pandemic, policy advocates need to consider reporting essential issues with evidence-based data.
Public Health has been an underestimated or rather unknown field for many years until the major COVID-19 pandemic hit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines the public health workforce development with essential public health training and funding for public health – an intervention that will bring out better outcomes in future emergencies.
Two years through the COVID-19 pandemic, people in the different communities faced several problems, from losing their jobs to losing their loved ones. What should be done? I am not giving a solution to any question but what I want to say here is everyone has had their own share of problems in the pandemic, we need to understand people going through different kinds of issues and engage ourselves in our community. Either join a library for reading, go to a church to volunteer, or help someone – bring out positivity in your own life by maybe joining a non-profit – suggesting, or advocating a new group to work on a particular issue, for example, organizing a winter coat donation for homeless people.
Well, even I didn’t know unless I read that 7th April 2022 is known as World Health Day, and this year World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates its 74th anniversary. Every individual has the right to accessible and affordable health even in times of crisis. United Nations has been doing a tremendous job on sustainable goals and the ability to transform almost every issue possible. However, it’s a collective and shared responsibility, to achieve a group achievement – every effort needs to start from an individual level.
With the theme put forth by APHA – “Public Health Is Where You Are”, many universities and organizations are celebrating the NPHW by hosting online and in-person events. Tufts School of Medicine is hosting a Public Health Week Photo Contest, other universities have organized college community events: poster and paper presentations to showcase research skills and solutions on various public health topics; thereby engaging students, and faculty and collaborating on positive outcomes for health. American Action Forum recently published a public health emergency primer in order to recognize what a public health emergency looks like today; in an effort to promote the National Public Health Week celebration.