Editorials

The role of national public health institutes in health infrastructure development

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39356.406377.BE (Published 25 October 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:834
  1. Jeffrey P Koplan, director1,
  2. Courtenay Dusenbury, director2,
  3. Pekka Jousilahti, secretary general3,
  4. Pekka Puska, director general4
  1. 1Emory Global Health Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
  2. 2International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI) Sub-Secretariat, Emory Global Health Institute
  3. 3IANPHI Secretariat, National Public Health Institute (KTL), FI-00300 Helsinki, Finland
  4. 4National Public Health Institute (KTL)
  1. jkoplan{at}emory.edu

    Science based and often relatively apolitical, they deserve 10% of donors' funds

    Modern day challenges to public health systems include—as well as infectious and chronic diseases—the need to improve environmental health, occupational health, and mental health; to reduce injuries; to strengthen systems for delivering public health services; and to prepare for unanticipated problems and emergencies, such as natural disasters and bioterrorism.

    Public health services have developed in a less consistent manner than medical services in hospitals, clinics, and primary care. But, from 19th century pioneers of public health such as Farr, Chadwick, and Snow in England; Shattuck in the United States; and Frank, Villerme, and Virchow on the European continent,1 to Yen and Grant in Ding County, China,2 disciplines and skills have evolved into a set of recognised essential public health capacities. As defined by the Pan American Health Organization3 and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),4 such capacities permit a nation—through its public health authorities—to recognise, measure, and tackle health challenges through population based interventions.3

    Many countries find it useful to group target problems …

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