The impact of public health interventions in a developing nation: an overview
Introduction: Around 80% of factors that determine population health sit outside the control of health services. It is essential we influence these factors in addition to those within the remit of health services in order to improve and protect the health of population in a developing country. Public health functions encompass working across the domains that constitute population health systems with various partners. The objective of this article is to give an overview of public health interventions that can improve the health of the population of a developing nation.
Method: A descriptive study, based on a review of the literature of key public health frameworks and interventions that are likely to have significant impacts on population health. Some selected public health interventions and case studies are highlighted to illustrate the importance of priority areas in developing countries.
Results: Various public health frameworks recognise the importance of wider determinants of health (socio-economic factors), effective healthcare, healthy behaviours, working with communities as critical to securing population health. Another framework adopts a life-course model of intervention starting from public health interventions during preconception period and childhood, adolescence, working life and older age. For many developing countries, the author identified some examples of priority areas for interventions such as stopping and preventing wars; improving child health, including free school meals; achieving universal healthcare through integrated primary health care; addressing commercial determinants of health; embracing new technologies; and measuring and monitoring population health.
Conclusion: In order to improve the health of a population in a developing country, attention needs to go beyond health services to influence the wider determinants of health, health behaviours and adopting the World Health Organisation’s roadmap on essential public health functions.