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    Public Health on a Global Scale: the World Health Organization

    In the twenty-first century, public health is a shared responsibility. Today’s “smaller world” brings with it larger concerns about the spread of disease and the overall health of the population.  

    The World Health Organization (WHO) serves as the United Nation’s directing and coordinating authority for all public health matters.

    Since it was formed in 1948, the WHO’s mission has been to insure fair access to essential health care around the globe, and to take action against transnational health threats.

    The WHO provides global leadership on health matters; shaping research, setting standards, articulating policy, providing technical support, and monitoring health trends.

    Through various WHO programs, partnerships, and projects, the WHO is able to play a key role in in public health.  Individuals looking for public health topics or information on diseases can find a significant amount of data, statistics, and resources on the WHO website. 

    In addition to striving to be a leader in global health, the WHO also raises awareness about diseases affecting the public.  For example, on July 28, the WHO and its partners mark World Hepatitis Day to increase the awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis and the diseases it causes.

    Five main types of hepatitis viruses exist: A, B, C, D, and E. All have the potential to cause acute and chronic infection and inflammation of the liver, resulting in cirrhosis and cancer. Hepatitis is a massive global health risk and public health issue, with over 240 million people infected with hepatitis B and 150 million infected with hepatitis C.

    Anyone who has ever asked “What is public health?” or is preparing to work in the public health, allied health, or health care fields can learn more about global public health initiatives and the WHO. For opportunities to participate in World Hepatitis Day, visit the WHO website.  

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