You’ll see many phrases floating around on the internet about how 2020 is probably the worst year we’ve all witnessed. However, even the most skeptical ones couldn’t have foreseen the outbreak of a global pandemic. Previously, when we thought of an epidemic, our first thoughts would generally go to the Black Plague of the 1300s or the Cholera outbreak of the 19th century. An event of this scale in modern history is unprecedented, and there is understandably great uncertainty all around.
People’s daily lives worldwide have changed entirely, and you can expect some of the changes to be long-term. Healthcare workers worldwide are putting their lives on the line to learn more about the virus and how they can help patients. However, while we see doctors getting the due recognition they deserve, public health workers’ role isn’t highlighted as much. Besides, our lives are at a halt, and information is spreading unchecked; it’s often the public health workers who do the most to restore a sense of normalcy. There is an immense responsibility that public health workers must shoulder, and if you’re interested in learning of the role they play in this pandemic, keep reading below.
● SPREAD OF WRONG INFORMATION
In the era of social media, the most significant risk seems to be an unauthentic cure or discoveries getting viral. No matter which social media platform you log onto, you can find all sorts of fake health-related news regarding the pandemic. Whether it’s a story divulging’ state secrets about the origin of the virus or state conspiracies over the epidemic, everything on social media seems misleading. One of the essential roles of public health workers in this pandemic is controlling the spread of misinformation.
More and more public health candidates are getting employed to curtail the chaos worldwide. Thus the employment rate got boosted in 2020. Passionate individuals desiring to serve the country through health sectors enroll in online MPH alongside performing essential roles in the field. This pandemic brought a huge demand for such professionals and their commendable services. Public health workers function as educators. In this pandemic, they can educate people and provide them reliable medical information and dispel any myths. This role is incredibly important in the face of immense scientific literature denial on many social media websites.
● PREVENTATIVE MEASURES IN COMMUNITIES
It is another factor influenced by social media. People use these sites extensively and take information from official and non-medical sources. One of the easiest ways to control the pandemic is through preventative measures such as social distancing, using masks, and sanitizing often. These measures, when used together, are useful in delaying the peak. Furthermore, they also help reduce the overall number of infected, even at peak times.
Despite medical sources showing the efficacy of these measures, many people globally refuse to wear masks or engage in social distancing. Their decisions may be influenced either by political leanings or by misinformation from the internet. Still, public health workers’ job is to ensure communities take preventative measures. Public health workers often work with the most at-risk communities to drive home the importance of prevention. Whether it’s by going door-to-door or holding seminars, public health workers play a huge role in controlling the spread.
● WORKING IN EPIDEMIOLOGY
Epidemiology covers how diseases spread, which communities are most at-risk, and how healthcare workers can prevent the spread. The corona-virus has already taken millions of lives globally, and the only way we can stop it is through epidemiology. When studying public health, not only do you learn how to work as an epidemiologist, but you also gain insight into critical social structures. Socio-economic background, geographic location, and other factors play a huge role in determining the virus’s spread.
Epidemiologists work to understand how the virus spreads and where it originated from to help prepare the anti-virus. They also assess at-risk people. Epidemiologists’ efforts have helped us know that the virus spreads fastest in enclosed spaces and through contact with respiratory droplets. Public health workers use a combination of biostatistics and knowledge of social setups to figure out how to implement the best prevention policies. Their work has also been essential in helping at-risk individuals such as the elderly and those with respiratory illnesses keep themselves safe.
● INFECTED PATIENTS’ CARE
Nursing is a big part of public healthcare. Nurses put their lives on the line to work with infected individuals during this pandemic. Nurses’ role is even more critical in this pandemic. Often, the only people around infected patients are public health workers. Patients need to be quarantined even from family members, so the virus doesn’t spread. The care that nurses provide in this challenging time is more than just medical service. It is about giving them moral support. Contact with infected patients means that most nurses can’t return home to their families to fear infecting them. Furthermore, nurses have the strict duty of being with patients who can’t recover and ease their last moments. The job of nurses in particular, therefore, is exceptionally challenging yet crucial in the pandemic.
● HEALTH AND SAFETY AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS
There is a lot of uncertainty regarding how people can stay as healthy as possible in the pandemic. People are more conscious than ever about their health, and many confuse flu with COVID-19. Public health workers can educate people about what steps they can take at home to stay healthy and how they can differentiate symptoms of COVID-19 from other diseases. Furthermore, they can also tell people when it’s safe for them to self-quarantine if they think they’re infected. This information from public health workers has helped many people recover from their homes so that hospitals aren’t overburdened. Furthermore, people learn what supplements they should take to boost immunity and avoid recovering quickly.
The responsibility that public health workers shoulder in this challenging time is immense. Often, these workers put their own lives on the line to ensure that others can recover and prevent infection. After all, working in public health is all about positively impacting society, and there is no better time to do so than now. Therefore, a career in public healthcare comes with its own set of unique challenges, but overcoming each one of them is immensely rewarding. The public health workers will help outline health policies to help us all adjust to the pandemic and live without any risk.