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Table of Contents
Year : 2023  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1

Public health: A public good

Executive Editor, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala, India

Date of Submission14-Mar-2023
Date of Acceptance14-Mar-2023
Date of Web Publication28-Mar-2023

Correspondence Address:
Unnikrishnan Menon
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/AMJM.AMJM_10_23

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How to cite this article:
Menon U. Public health: A public good. Amrita J Med 2023;19:1

How to cite this URL:
Menon U. Public health: A public good. Amrita J Med [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Jun 4];19:1. Available from: https://ajmonline.org.in/text.asp?2023/19/1/1/372702

Medicine, and its practice, is intended to be for the benefit of all humanity. More specifically, this is a science evolved to take care of the health of the public at large. The latter includes the individual, the family, the community, the society, and so on up the organizational levels of human existence. This involves myriad aspects of healthcare such as prevention, epidemiology, research, para-medical services, and the clinical practice of both medical and surgical modalities. The last is, undoubtedly, the familiar face of medicine for most of us. However, the former two in this list are important aspects that are often “under the radar”.

The reason that this editorial has begun thus, is to highlight the role and relevance of community medicine, public health and epidemiology, all of which make their presence felt through articles published in this Issue. A doyen of the field has described the discipline of community medicine thus: “We work with communities to improve their health”.[1] Identifying the problem is necessarily the first step to resolve it. This is what the study from Haryana, conducted by the Community Medicine Dept. of ESIC MC&H, has attempted. It has highlighted the extent of underdiagnosis of an important health issue viz. hypertension, in a section of the community that is often ignored viz. industrial workers. Conscientious readers would certainly appreciate the potential public health good that can be brough about by recognizing, and then treating, the condition. Yet another study, this one from AIIMS Bhubaneswar, has looked at a way of improving the health of patients with filariasis, a debilitating neglected tropical disease. The emphasis is on treatment at the individual/home level. This is another aspect of community medicine, both nursing and medical, in the given instance. It can be hoped that the publication of this pilot study leads on to further trials and conclusions, which can ultimately benefit the target group.

Another important component of community medicine is epidemiology. It has been said that in epidemiology, the patient is the community and individuals are viewed collectively.[2] A review article by the infectious disease team of Internal Medicine, AIMS, Kochi, throws light on the recent outbreak of monkeypox (now officially re-named as Mpox), first reported in India in July 2022 in the State of Kerala. Although it has since been fairly well controlled, important aspects of the changing causative factors have been described. This has to be seen in the context of the ever-increasing threat of viral pandemics, a huge concern in the realm of public health.

Along with a few other interesting articles, I take satisfaction in presenting the above cited articles this Issue. It offers the discerning readers a fairly detailed look at how various aspects of community medicine function in healthcare. I would also take the opportunity to direct them to an educative article on this topic.[3]

Meanwhile, even as this is being written, another public health issue is literally “up in the air”. The effects of the Brahmapuram waste plant fire may last for a while, and may warrant a public health study, especially the persistence of dioxin in human beings in the vicinity. Hoping that this important research sees the light of day soon, I wish all readers of this Issue a healthy and academically motivated 2023.

  References Top

Krishnan A Community Medicine in India - Which Way Forward? Indian J Community Med 2016;41:5-10. doi: 10.4103/0970-0218.170956.  Back to cited text no. 1
Availabe from: https://www.cdc.gov/careerpaths/k12teacherroad​map/epidemiology. [Last accessed on 2023 Mar 14].  Back to cited text no. 2
Raina , Kumar S, Kumar R The confusion is killing Public Health, Community Medicine and Family Medicine; all critical to India’s healthcare delivery system. J Family Med Prim Care 2021;10: 3169-71. DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1867_21  Back to cited text no. 3


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