10 Essential Public Health Services in Developing Countries
In the United States, healthcare advisory organizations such as the CDC and the American Public Health Association (APHA) agree on ten essential services of public health that are required to adequately serve all communities. These include the following:
- Assess and monitor public health.
- Investigate, diagnose, and address health hazards and root causes.
- Communicate effectively to inform and educate.
- Strengthen, support, and mobilize communities and partnerships.
- Create, champion, and implement policies, plans, and laws.
- Utilize legal and regulatory actions.
- Enable equitable access.
- Build a diverse and skilled workforce.
- Improve and innovate through evaluation, research, and quality improvement.
- Build and maintain a strong organizational infrastructure for public health.
Developing countries, however, often lack the resources needed to administer this level of health service to the public. Obstacles include constraints on institutional infrastructure, lack of regulation, systemic inequity, poor dissemination of health information, and inadequate fiscal and human resources.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one major problem with human resources in particular is that international healthcare workers are being drawn toward careers in the US and other industrialized countries rather than jobs in poorer countries where they are most needed.
Some progress has been made in the twenty-first century, WHO reports, with an increase in essential public health services like immunization, family planning, HIV treatment, and malaria prevention being offered in developing nations.
In the face of limited access to public healthcare systems, one factor that impedes further advancements is out-of-pocket costs for privatized healthcare. These expenses are driving many patients and their families into poverty. Developing nations will need to implement better ways of distributing healthcare costs in order to foster equitable access.
In Lebanon and Palestine, the administration of public health services is further complicated by political and military conflict. Thousands of Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Lebanon are not eligible for public healthcare, although humanitarian organizations are working to change this. In Palestine, strain on diplomatic relations can result in restricted access to basic resources at the best of times. These tensions can escalate with catastrophic results: at least nineteen health facilities were damaged in the May 2021 conflict in Gaza.
In response to the limited access to healthcare in the places it is needed most, the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) continues to provide medical and humanitarian care for children and their families through our hospitals, pediatric medical programs, hospital infrastructure projects, and medical missions. These efforts help to ensure that children in need get the vital medical care they require.
PCRF is not a political or religious organization. Our mission is to provide medical and humanitarian relief collectively and individually to Arab children throughout the Middle East, regardless of their nationality, politics, or religion. We rely on charitable giving to provide medical treatment, surgeries, safety, shelter, and support to children and their families suffering from pediatric heart disease. Find out how you can get involved and help make a difference in children’s lives today!