Health programs are designed to promote healthy lifestyles, conduct disease prevention research, and detect, respond to, and control infectious diseases. This is an important and necessary role for governments, whether on the local or national level, as well as private companies, organizations, and individuals. The goals of health programs vary from country to country, but may include efforts such as promoting hand-washing and breastfeeding, providing vaccinations, improving ventilation and air quality in homes and workplaces, spreading awareness about the dangers of smoking or alcoholism, educating people on how to identify and prevent infectious diseases, and increasing healthcare accessibility for all residents of a particular area.
Government-run health programs and agencies provide treatment and support for populations of people that otherwise might not be able to access or afford it. These agencies may offer neighborhood clinics and education, media campaigns, and other initiatives to help the poorer members of a community, including gynecological and obstetric services, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, substance abuse programs, and general wellness promotions like teaching people how to eat healthy and exercise regularly.
Many countries have their own governmental public health agencies, sometimes called ministries of health or departments of health, which are responsible for domestic health issues and may also manage global health initiatives. These ministries may work closely with the UN and other organizations to develop and implement global health strategies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is one of the largest and most renowned public health programs in the world, working to save lives by advancing public health. CDC programs focus on everything from preventing the spread of infectious diseases to promoting healthier lifestyles and encouraging communities to work together to make positive changes that benefit everyone.
There is a significant gap between developed and developing countries when it comes to their ability to provide adequate health care programs. In some countries, there are simply not enough qualified medical professionals or monetary resources to meet the needs of the population. The majority of diseases and deaths in these nations result from poverty, lack of public health infrastructures, and inadequate medical facilities.
There are a number of degrees available for those interested in pursuing careers related to health programs and policies. Most postgraduate programs are Master’s Degrees, with the two main options being a Master of Public Health (MPH) or a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health (PhD). Both of these degrees typically take around two years to complete and have similar educational requirements.