Definition and Overview
A public health consultation is an assessment of the health condition of groups of people. Such consultations are done on a community or environmental level, rather than on an individual and personal level. Its end goal is to optimize the health of an entire community and minimize as well as counter the health hazards that may put an entire group of people’s health at risk.
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
A public health consultation can help protect and improve the health of groups of people of varying sizes, from small rural communities, cities of various sizes, to huge global populations. Regular and effective health consultations can also protect not just locals but also visitors traveling to the said place.
Due to the nature of common health risks, one of the most important aspects of public health consultation is disease epidemiology, or finding out the causes and distribution patterns of diseases. The findings are then used to prevent them from spreading. Also, due to their increased vulnerability to transmittable diseases, public health assessments are more crucial in developing and underdeveloped countries, although it is also necessary for the long-term health maintenance of developed countries.
A consultation regarding a community’s overall health should result in:
- Healthy lifestyles across the community
- Prevention of diseases
- Effective and accessible healthcare services
Since it aims to keep the people within a community healthy, public health assessments play an important role in improving the quality of life in a certain area.
How the Procedure Works
Due to the larger scale repercussions of public health risks, the aim of public health consultation focuses more on prevention instead of cure. It takes into consideration the potential health risks facing an entire community and then takes steps to keep these risks at bay.
Consultations on the health condition of a community are typically implemented by government agencies, but can also be set in motion by businesses, health care institutions, and communities themselves. Once implemented, public health consultants conduct research on the health situation of the community in question, with the goal of bringing to light the potential hazards and existing challenges affecting the public health sector. They also review existing health programs and policies to see if any of them needs to be updated or improved. The findings are then analyzed, after which the consultants will provide their recommendations on how to resolve any health issues there may be.
These recommendations are then translated into executable programs that will educate and equip the community against the existing health issues. These include requiring and issuing permits for various issues, such as animal handling, and setting standards for cleanliness and safety.
Possible Risks and Complications
Some of the common health issues that public health consultants deal with are those that can easily spread across a community and endanger the health of the population as a whole. Some examples are:
- Flu pandemic
- Microbial infections
- Transmitted diseases, such as HIV and cholera
- Respiratory diseases
- Chemical exposure
- Radiation exposure
Other risk factors taken into consideration are hazards that are foodborne, waterborne, and airborne.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention