Over the past several years, the international community has endured major medical scares, such as the SARS epidemic of 2003 and the H1N1 influenza in 2009. The needs of public health can change frequently and require well-trained professionals who are able to provide quality care for individuals around the world. The online Master of Public Health (MPH) program at Benedictine University offers current health professionals an opportunity to continue their education and keep up with the latest developments in global public health.
Global Health Goals
In September 2000, The United Nations Member States agreed to achieve eight goals by the year 2015 as part of the United Nations Millennium Declaration, according to the World Health Organization. Six of the eight goals relate to global health issues, including:
- Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
- Cut the proportion of people who suffer from hunger in half between 1990 and 2015.
- Reduce Child Mortality
- Reduce the mortality rate of children under age 5 by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015.
- Improve Maternal Health
- Reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters between 1990 and 2015.
- Grant universal access to reproductive health care by 2015.
- Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases
- Stop and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.
- Achieve universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS by 2010.
- Halt and reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases by 2015.
- Ensure Environmental Sustainability
- Cut the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in half by 2015.
- Global Partnership for Development
- Provide access to affordable essential medicines in developing countries, in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies.
These Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are ambitious but achievable, and require a variety of trained professionals with innovative ideas and skills. Benedictine University’s online MPH degree program offers courses that cover the core topics discussed in the UN Millennium Declaration and cultivate the skills necessary to achieve its goals.
Achieving the Goals
Health-related UN MDGs are some of the most complex yet necessary goals to achieve. With the 2015 deadline fast approaching, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon assigned Ray Chambers the specific task of ensuring the achievement of these global health goals. According to the United Nations announcement in March 2013, Chambers will reach out to the public and private sectors to increase funding and the mobilization of global health programs. This declaration is evidence of the present necessity to alleviate global health concerns.
Current Public Health Demands
Now more than ever, global health is in the spotlight and is receiving international support to ensure its improvement. There are a variety of areas that require assistance from public health professionals, ranging from specific events such as the spread of the H1N1 influenza to ubiquitous problems like food safety. Every project requires individuals with a variety of specialized skills to guarantee that the general public is receiving the information and care they deserve.
Evaluating the Issues
The World Health Organization’s report “Engaging for Health” lists several ways in which it strives to help solve global health crises. One of the first steps in the evaluation process is assessing the society in which the health emergency has occurred. Although our world has largely become globalized into one international community, political and cultural barriers continue to exist. This often makes solving a global health crisis difficult because a particular method cannot necessarily be standardized for different environments or cultures. Experienced health care professionals must first go into the country where the event has transpired to develop a plan of action designed to suit the affected individuals. These public health professionals must be well versed in the global arena and should understand the values or laws that apply to each specific country involved.
Design and Implementation
The next step in the development process is to design a plan of action suitable for that society. This involves multiple moving parts to make certain the proper aid reaches the area in need in a timely and cost-effective manner. At this stage, government relations’ professionals become involved to ensure political cooperation. These individuals must understand the local culture as well as the spectrum of public health being provided. Meanwhile, other experts create and acquire the tools necessary to carry out the support. Public health teams must then infiltrate the affected area and distribute the aid.
Evaluation and Maintenance
Finally, once the non-government organizations (NGOs) and professionals assemble the necessary assistance, the system must be turned over to the people of the area being serviced. Several problems that occur in the global community are ones that require constant attention, such as food supply, water safety and treatment. According to the United States Agency on International Development, many worldwide health issues can be linked to poor food and water sanitation. Involving governments and private organizations across the globe in the sanitation process and providing them with the necessary tools and applications to implement it will help to alleviate the problem for years to come. Providing awareness in the community is also crucial. This process requires individuals with strong communication skills and the knowledge necessary to train individuals unfamiliar with such tools.
Related Benedictine Programs
By pursuing an Online MPH degree at Benedictine University, individuals study advanced topics including chronic and communicable disease patterns, determinants of health, preventative health care and health policy with a special focus on applied research and analysis. This accredited program is designed to provide these professionals with an advanced degree that will empower them to address health care challenges facing the world today.