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Structures and strategies for public health intervention 

Structures and strategies for public health intervention
Structures and strategies for public health intervention

Don Nutbeam

and Marilyn Wise

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date: 19 May 2022

The earlier chapters of this book confirm that the scientific basis for public health is well developed and evolving in response to emerging public health challenges. However, to achieve the goal of improving the health of populations and improving equity in health, this science must be applied both within the health sector and more broadly in society in ways that have an impact on the social determinants of health.

The application of the science of public health is dependent upon the existence of an infrastructure for public health action that provides strategic and technical public health leadership, and contributes directly to the development and implementation of policies and programmes that are necessary to deliver improvements in the health of populations. Such infrastructure must also include the capacity to form partnerships with communities and with organizations across different sectors that support the delivery of public health services and programmes, as well as the capacity to evaluate and report routinely on progress.

This chapter analyses and describes key elements of an infrastructure for public health that have been found to be effective in guiding national action, and the components of an infrastructure and delivery system required to design, deliver, and evaluate public health interventions. Public health intervention requires a complex mix of science, art (of practice), and politics. Four key challenges for the future emerge from this analysis: The need to address all determinants of health, the importance of gaining greater public visibility for public health, the need to increase our capacity to work across sectors to develop policy and plans to improve health, and the importance of working with all the people and organizations that have a role in improving or protecting the health of populations.

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