The role of national public health institutes in health infrastructure development
Science based and often relatively apolitical, these institutes deserve 10% of donors' funds, say Jeffrey P Koplan and colleagues
Modern day challenges to public health systems include—as well as infectious and chronic diseases—the need to improve environmental health, occupational health, and mental health; to reduce injuries; to strengthen systems for delivering public health services; and to prepare for unanticipated problems and emergencies, such as natural disasters and bioterrorism.
Public health services have developed in a less consistent manner than medical services in hospitals, clinics, and primary care. But, from 19th century pioneers of public health such as Farr, Chadwick, and Snow in England; Shattuck in the United States; and Frank, Villerme, and Virchow on the European continent,w1 to Yen and Grant in Ding County, China,w2 disciplines and skills have evolved into a set of recognised essential public health capacities. As defined by the Pan American Health Organizationw3 and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),w4 such capacities permit a nation—through its public health authorities—to recognise, measure, and