Future Challenges in Public Healthcare

One of the major future challenges in public healthcare in the fragmentation of public health infrastructure as a result of governmental roles and responsibilities. Public health infrastructure as future challenge at the federal, state, and local levels includes lack of adequate preparation of the workforce at the public health sector, poor information systems and inadequate public health laboratories, this includes problems in organizational structures and ineffective management of public health activities. The government has devised ways of responding to this future challenge through involving governmental public health agencies to achieve their objectives in public health system. The aim is to improve healthcare and provide a set of directions for public health which should attract the support of a broader society. Public health is a local and state function from a historical perspective. Thus the state and local government are charged with important primary roles.

The strengths of the federal governments in tackling public health challenges is based on the availability of  resources, professional expertise, and the responsibility to assess public health  and to provide better recommendations for improvement.  Ensuring an effective and efficient public health infrastructure is an urgent matter, thus, the public, local and federal government should share a responsibility in public health planning. Core functions of leaders responsible at all levels of government include assessment, the design of adequate policy, hence public health system must be supported by political will of leaders who commit resources and influence based on evidence and should involve an adoption of a sound public policy designed by policy makers from public health agencies that consider health effects on citizens. A strong and effective governmental public health infrastructure is to respond to future health crises and to address current challenges such as preventing the occurrence of chronic illnesses, controlling the emergence of infectious diseases, and monitoring food and water safety to ensure public health is maintained.

An important way to address public health challenges at all government levels is to involve all sectors, public health institutions and agencies and the healthcare system through the creation of an efficient and effective inter-sectoral public health system. Past achievement in public health should be reviewed which may be impacted upon by the  concerns about falling short in the present and being un prepared to deal with future public health challenges (Institute of Medicine, 2002) . The nature of health as a public asset should be explored since it a fundamental and statutory duty of the government to ensure an appropriate public health. The government should examine the reasons for the current nation’s deficient health care infrastructure in order to predict future challenges.

Mental health is an important public health issue since mental disorders contribute a significant public health problem worldwide. In the whole world, more than 450 million people suffer from mental disorders . I U.S, Mental illness as a public health issue account for over 25% of disability. According to a report by US Department of Health and Human Services  a larger proportion of adult population in the United States has mental disorders. Mental health as public health problem that have various health implications to many people in America. The public health problems that are associated with mental health include anxiety disorders, impulse control disorders, mood disorders, sub-stance use disorders. According a report by the National Institute of Mental Health it is estimated that one in every ten children in U.S suffers from mental illness that contributes mental impairment. Mental disorders have implications in various areas among different cultural, racial and ethnic groups, including people from all socio-economic backgrounds.

In US, mental health problems have led to an estimated spending of $150 billion each year excluding the costs of research . Chapman, et al, (2005) stated that mental disorders can influence the occurrence of other illnesses and often correlate with other risky behavioral activities like substance abuse, smoking tobacco, and physical inactivity.

Strategies that can be employed by the government to improve mental health as a public health issues is to identify the risk factors, make the public more aware of the effects of mental disorders, and to create awareness on the effectiveness of treatment options available. The government aim at eliminating health disparities, improve public health infrastructure to increase the access to mental health services particularly among disproportionately affected population.

According to President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, a program for policy change that addresses the issue at the community, state, or federal level in order to improve mental health at the community, state or federal level, is to incorporate mental health promotion together with chronic disease prevention efforts. More effort should focus on conducting surveillance and improve evidence based mental health research.  Leaders and decision makers should collaborate with other partners to design a comprehensive mental health plans to promote coordination in mental health care.