Public health studies the possibilities for improving the health of the population. It encounters numerous challenges, such as controlling communicable diseases, which are joined by new, previously managed diseases (e.g. tuberculosis, HIV), chronic non-communicable diseases – including an increase in diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and cancers, increased inequalities in health between different social groups, and the ageing of the population and the extending of life expectancy, which all require greater investments in prevention.
These challenges result in a need for change in terms of re-structuring of healthcare systems and medical services, which should be more focused on preserving and promoting health and on the early discovery of diseases. Measures and activities at various levels can help improve the health of the population: individuals who are empowered and informed assume responsibility for their own health; workers who ensure safe and healthy working conditions; local communities which ensure conditions for a high-quality lifestyle; non-governmental organisations which are advocates for health and patient rights; and the state with its policies and legislation.
In order to provide effective health protection, we are responsible for the required legislative framework and control over the implementation of regulations, for example in controlling communicable diseases, risky behaviours, ensuring the suitability of water for drinking and bathing, suitability of food, cosmetics, and general use items, and ensuring the protection and promotion of physical and mental health at work and in everyday life.