Public health is one of the domains that will always remain topical. Though new information shapes public health policies regularly, its principles remain comparatively the same. In Public health principles and neurological disorders, the first chapter of Neurological disorders: public health challenges, the members of the WHO provides an overview of the basic notions that will be discussed throughout the book and specify the healthcare service methods for neurological disorders in particular.
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The WHO opens the chapter by offering definitions of key terms and concepts. Particularly, the author defines the goal of public health, which is facilitating the environment in which the conditions for all people to be healthy could be provided, and provides an overview of public health history, paying special attention to the 1980s breakthrough, i.e., public health specialists addressing the issues of poverty, inequity, and education.
According to the WHO, however, the public health domain requires improvement. To be more exact, the awareness of public health significance must be raised globally. Despite the numerous international projects launched by the WHO, the issue still remains unresolved. The key limitation of the present-day epidemiology is that statistical data alone does not allow for reducing the cost-efficiency ratio. The problem has been addressed with the launch of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD), the Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) being a measurement unit for neurological disorders (WHO, 2006, p. 10).
Making it obvious that successful health promotion requires the cooperation between healthcare services and government, WHO puts a very strong emphasis on the significance of health promotion for neurological disorders. The efficacy of the given solution, however, can be doubted. The globalization process admittedly helps to spread awareness about health issues and disease prevention; however, in some states, health services must be upgraded to international standards first.
Disease prevention, as the WHO states, is the key goal of public health services. Split into the primary, secondary, and tertiary stages of prevention, this process is often compared to the rehabilitation stage. The latter, however, is related to the post-treatment stage and concerns the aftereffects of disease treatment.
WHO makes it clear that defining health risks is the first step towards developing a cohesive disease prevention strategy. The casual chain of events leading to a disease or disorder development is analyzed, each factor being considered separately. The prevention strategies themselves traditionally fall into two major categories, which are high-risk (a narrow approach) and population-based methods (the approach involving more participants and designed to address a large proportion of people) (WHO, 2006, p. 12).
WHO also contemplates on the definition of health policy and the process of healthcare services provision, paying special attention to the classification of the latter (primary, secondary, and tertiary care). Finally, the issues of disability and rehabilitation are touched upon. Healthcare services for the disabled, as a rule, include not only treatment but also assisting the patients in their attempts at integrating into the society. Rehabilitation, in its turn, is defined as a means of providing patients with autonomy. The rehab cycle (assessment – assignment – intervention – evaluation) is also provided (WHO, 2006, p. 17). WHO ends the chapter with an analysis of several neurological rehabilitation case studies.
While the chapter in question does not offer any particular information regarding healthcare services for people with neurological disorders, it still is a very decent and thorough discussion of the key terms and the concept of public health in general. A remarkably well put together introduction into the public health domain, the first chapter of the book published by the WHO is definitely worth reading.
WHO (2006). Public health principles and neurological disorders. World Health Organization (Ed.), Neurological disorders: public health challenges (pp. 7–23). Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization. Web.