Four Key Public Health Challenges of 2020-2021
In 2020, COVID-19 placed the public healthcare sector in every country under a microscope, as it spread around the globe at an alarmingly high rate. It caused rampant infections, numerous deaths and overwhelmed the hospitals. The deadly plague made the decision-makers realize that medical systems in their respective countries were not prepared to manage health emergencies. It forced them to focus on making medical care systems more resilient, proactive and empathetic.
It is essential to acknowledge that upcoming years will continue to be even more challenging for the public health care sector. Community leaders need to devise better and sustainable health care solutions for the masses, especially the elderly.
For now, let’s take a look at four critical public health challenges of 2021-2022.
- Global Vaccination Drive:
As the pandemic soars globally, vaccination drives are rolling out rapidly to prevent the spread of this deadly virus and curb infections. While the rollout is finally underway, it hasn’t been without its own setbacks. Cold Jet dry ice Melbourne expresses that many of the vaccines produce needed to be sorted at extremely low temperatures ranging from -20 to -70 °C. Originally these conditions had not been readily available at the scale needed for the global rollout, until the development of specialist boxes made of dry ice that could maintain these conditions for long periods of time to enable global transportation. Various public health agencies and not-for-profit organizations are playing a crucial role in leading the inventions of different vaccines and are promoting vaccination drives.
According to Bloomberg, some countries, like the US and UK, have a high vaccination rate (42.5%), whereas others, like Kenya and Ethiopia, are struggling with meager vaccination percentage. This disparity exists mainly due to two key factors: a shortage of resources and a lack of awareness. Together, these are two factors present enormous challenges for public health care sectors in all the countries.
The local community leaders and public health care workers must pay heed if masses don’t have access to appropriate vaccines. They must ensure that sufficient medicines are available for everyone. Similarly, healthcare workers must take it upon themselves to educate people about the urgency and importance of vaccination if people distrust the medication, and don’t want to get vaccinated.
Even though nurses, doctors and social workers are pretty persuasive and efficient in performing their jobs during challenging times, they might feel they require more training and skills to better adapt to the current situation. If you’re one such worker, then apply for a short course in public health training or consider opting for master public health online programs as they allow you to make time for both education and a full-time job.
2- Mental Health Conditions and Social Isolation:
Unfortunately, recent lockdowns, quarantines, and a ban on social gatherings have hurt peoples’ mental health tremendously. Work-from-home arrangements have blurred the lines between professional and personal space, and as a result, employees of many local and international organizations have reported working 24/7. Generation X and Millennials are electronically connected but socially isolated, which depresses them and makes them anxious, lonely, irritable, and frustrated. Numerous adults have even resorted to drugs to take solace from loneliness.
According to Forbes, 63 % of young people reported experiencing anxiety and depression, while 36% reported feeling lonely, especially during and after lockdowns.
Mental and health counsellors, psychologists and public health workers have been addressing this social issue ever since the onset of this pandemic; however, it continues to pose a significant problem. The experts have been advising people to connect with their loved ones through digital mediums, especially with the elderly.
3- Violence and Trauma:
Since the 2012 mass shooting in Connecticut, more than 2312 mass shootings have occurred in the US alone. These shootings and other violent crimes such as murder, physical or sexual abuse, assaults, thefts, kidnappings, etc.) have negatively influenced the masses. There have been many incidences of physical assault, racism and bigotry against people of color since the beginning of the pandemic.
Exposure to trauma always leaves a significant impression on one’s health. An episode of gun violence leaves one fearful, traumatized, and anxious for life. Communities where theft, snatching, and physical assaults are common aren’t happy and healthy places. Life becomes miserable in such societies. Counsellors spend a lot of time trying to calm down these traumatized communities. Apart from this, these groups become a top priority for psychologists and educationists too.
4- Food Safety
Food safety is another key 2020-21 challenge. According to Feeding America, 45 million people (1 in 7), including 15 million children (1 in 5), may have experienced food insecurity in 2020. Food insecurity depends on several factors, including income status, employment, race and ethnicity, and physical disability. Unemployment and physical disabilities play a greater role in the availability of food for a family.
As long as this pandemic is going on, food insecurity will continue to gravely threaten the masses. Public health workers, social workers and community influencers will have to keep on initiating charity campaigns to meet the needs of those who don’t have access to three meals a day.
There’s no doubt that 2020 has changed the whole world; and we should be prepared because as the year 2021 progresses, more public health-related challenges will arise. Addressing these issues requires close coordination between the government and public sector agencies. That is why these two agencies are looking to hire the right individuals who can develop and implement relevant health policies to make a positive. If you think you have what it takes to make a positive impact, join any one sector now!