Public Health Achievements


            Childhood vaccinations have mainly eliminated such diseases as polio, diphtheria, measles, mumps, and pertussis.  Organizations such as the WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), CDC, and Rotary International have played key roles in the eradication of polio.  In the US, political campaigns have contributed successfully to vaccination initiatives, requiring children to be vaccinated against deadly diseases upon school entry (Koplan & McPheeters, 2004). 

            Stricter policy for the mandate of clean air and water has led to a decrease in the spread of infectious disease.  In the United States, there has been a decrease in dysenteric diseases and Legionnaires’ disease because of these stricter mandates to promote clean water.  “Public policy has sought to control infectious disease throughout history, including attempts to ban spitting in the streets around the turn of the century and imposing restaurant inspections to ensure sanitary conditions in food preparation (Koplan & McPheeters, 2004).  The benefits to fighting back against the spread of infectious disease include, the fact that lives are saved, the tremendous cost reduction, improved health and decreased suffering and disability, the promotion of worldwide political stability, and finally, the heightened awareness and potential response to bioterrorism.   


Possible Reasons for the Emergence and Re-emergence of Infectious Disease – A Listing



Addressing the Crises: Key Organizations and Programs Designed to Fight the Spread of Infectious Disease


·        HealthMap is a program developed by WHO -UNICEF to provide a common platform for assessing surveillance and monitoring data at local, national, and global levels (WHO, 1999).

·        Capacity Building/Infrastructure Development, which involves strengthening the human and technical infrastructure, is very important for control and prevention of infectious diseases. The CDC has done this for the past 50 years.

·        The CDC has made major research contributions in the field of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C.  Researchers developed the diagnostic test for hepatitis C and demonstrated that a short course of AZT could reduce the rate of transmission of mother to child HIV infection by 50 % if taken during late pregnancy or delivery (Global Health, n.d.). Technological advances like satellite imaging and genome sequencing are presently being applied to control emerging diseases (NIAID, n.d.).

·        National Immunization Program: VCP (Vaccination of Children Program) – Created by Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) in 1993, and implemented in 1994; VCP is a critical element of former President Clinton’s Child Immunization Initiative (CII).  Under this program, federally purchased vaccines are provided to those children between 0-18 years of age who are enrolled in Medicaid, do not have health insurance, or are American Indian or Alaskan natives (CDC, 2001). For those children whose health insurance does not cover immunization, they can receive vaccinations at rural or federally qualified health center. It is operational in all 50 states, and between 1994 and 1998, a total of 43,884 provider sites became enrolled in the program. Operational responsibility of this program lies with the National Immunization Program at the CDC. Successful implementation requires close collaboration with Health Care Finance Administration center for Medicaid, Infant and Children Program, and managed care organizations.  Vaccine preventable diseases in children are diphtheria, haemophilus influenza type b, hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, tetanus, and varicella. Vaccines for people >65 years are also available for diphtheria, influenza, pneumococcus, and tetanus (CDC, 2001).

·        The Global Fund was created to finance a dramatic turn-around in the fight against such diseases as AIDS, malaria, and TB (Global Fund, n.d.).  This organization has collected $3 billion in US funds in 128 countries to support strong interventions against these three top killers.

·        The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) “works with governments and partners to scale up routine immunization services to make full immunization a part of every child’s life. UNICEF is a co-founder of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), a partnership dedicated to strengthening immunization systems and increasing access to new and under-used vaccines. Working through GAVI, UNICEF and other partners have expanded the access of millions of children in the world’s poorest nations to needed vaccines, including hepatitis B, Hib (which protects against some forms of meningitis and pneumonia) and yellow fever (UNICEF, n.d.).”




Infectious diseases are tremendously dangerous because of the negative affects on the global economy and the deleterious affects on quality of life throughout the world.  The World Health Organization, working in collaboration with UNICEF, the CDC, and other key organizations, has been successful in combating many diseases, however.  In the past, these organizations played a major role in the global eradication of smallpox.  Similar efforts are being made today toward achieving global eradication of other diseases like polio, guinea worms, and measles.  In United States alone, as a result of the ongoing efforts, the crude death rate from infectious diseases has dropped and caused an increase in the life expectancy (Global Health, n.d.).  This control has occurred due to advances in public health such as improved sanitation, improved hygiene, and vaccination programs (Global Health, n.d.).  Technological advances such as, serological testing, viral isolation, tissue culture, and molecular diagnostic techniques have been used to detect and characterize infectious agents.  Due to some of these variables, our ability to create newer and more effective antibiotics has been established.  Focused public attention and enhanced technology has improved our capacity to track, prevent, and treat diseases.  However, there is still a need to further local, national, and international cooperation and coordination to effectively fight these emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. 

Improving laboratories facilities, training additional personnel, establishing reliable and efficient communication networks, and building a strong public health infrastructure may bring about improvement in surveillance and disease control/response (University of Chicago Press, n.d.).  The application of genomics, proteomics, synthetic chemistry and robotics, molecular and genetic epidemiology, and information technology will be critical to the success of any disease control program.  A challenge will lie in the development of new, safe, and effective vaccines like recombinant protein vaccinations designed to fight the three main killers worldwide: HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.  Sequencing the genome of the various pathogenic organisms will help us in making selective vaccines and antimicrobial agents. Therefore, in order to effectively meet the challenge of infectious diseases in the future, both scientific and technological advances will be critical (University of Chicago Press, n.d.).  In addition, Public Health on all levels, must keep a watchful eye on infectious diseases in order to prevent the devastation caused by pandemics.  
































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