Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Friday, 16 October 2015

Health Advocacy From a Public Health Perspective; A personal Journey!

A long time ago, when I was introduced to a group of other young students under Rotary International I never knew I would later (25 years after) still be a zealous community/public health advocate and activist. Part of my post-doctoral work will be a text book in which I shall write short topics to cause more interest in healthy lifestyles as well as debunk myths.

In my earlier life, I learnt how to improve on myself by reading materials on health and interventions for resource-constrained communities. It is through such means that I got to learn what were known as "Appropriate Technologies." 

For instance if we were to talk to people in rural communities with less means about boiling water, we did not have to use electric kettles to demonstrate the point. But, being in such settings, we also had to use what was immediate and part of everyday life. We had to 'accessorize.'

There are similarities I note as the then mere follower of instructions from very highly placed medical doctors from Ministry of Health and my present circumstances as a scholar/practitioner gaining more understanding in public health and science.

Public health is a story, a science, an art, a principle, a practice and a goal. It deals with health, hygiene and diseases. It deals with health, hygiene and prevention of diseases. It is health promotion, prevention and preparedness all in one.

Public health as a field of study is a dynamic interdisciplinary package whose goal is the promotion of health and prevention of diseases in populations. It protects, improves the health of individuals, families, communities and populations locally and globally. Public health: improves global health;  advances environmental health; and creates healthier communities. In a nutshell like Greg martin would put it, "public health is a discipline that addresses health at a population level.

I have seen this happen in my life too. From my work in Africa to presently as a volunteer health advocate. Back in africa,In 1993, I was introduced to the concept of community health as well as Community-led Integrated HIV Prevention Practices. This was at a time when Uganda was preparing to make a self assessment of her health campaigns, especially the HIV Campaign. I was part of the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) Expanded Programme on Immunization so I managed to see first hand what it meant to work with grassroot communities. I learnt and utilized my community engagement skills. I enjoyed it and had the opportunity to travel when we were promoting country-wide Routine Immunization campaigns. By 2006, I had travelled to all parts of Uganda as a Community Trainer for small communities to own skills in health-care. This was possible under the auspices of United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and  World Health Organization (WHO) sponsored efforts in Uganda and Africa such as the; Reach Every District Approach (RED).  Uganda, became a model for many African countries and these countries used to send people to uganda to be trained. Currently, I am a health advocate helping contribute to new immigrants' knowledge as far as access and equity. I also encourage them to be involved in good  health practices in America. I hope to use my public health knowledge to advance well-being for all.

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