Just as we need other infrastructure such as roadways, power grids, water supply or other fundamental services necessary for our society to function well, we need to have a network of public health “infrastructure” to form the base of our public health services. Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated: “The success or failure of any government in the final analysis must be measured by the well-being of its citizens. Nothing can be more important to a state than its public health; the state’s paramount concern should be the health of its people”.
In the United States, governments at all levels (federal, state, and local) have a specific responsibility to strive to create the conditions in which people can be as healthy as possible.
Just like we need an efficient transport infrastructure to facilitate a seamless movement within and outside a given place, efficient health infrastructure is what ensures the nation is healthy. According to Healthy People 2020, the goal of having an efficient Public health infrastructure is ensuring that the federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local health agencies have the necessary infrastructure to provide essential public health services efficiently. With a sufficient public health infrastructure, communities, states, and the nation at large will have the ability to prevent disease, promote health, and prepare for and respond to both acute- emergency threats and chronic- ongoing challenges to health. According to Healthy People 2020, an excellent public health infrastructure depends on a wide range of processes such as immunizations, infectious disease monitoring, quality drinking water, injury prevention, up-to-date information systems, and public health organizations with the ability to assess and respond to community needs.
Looking at the U.S public health infrastructure and some of the key characteristics that would define a robust infrastructure, I do not think our infrastructure is solid enough. Our health care system has been described by a wide range of literature as the most expensive in the world but has a poor quality and safety record compared to other developed nations (Squires & Anderson, 2015). Secondly, looking at the major disease burden affecting the healthcare system, I would say that our infrastructure has been focused more on profit maximization. Most of these conditions are preventable. I cannot understand why an important medication such as insulin for over 30 million diabetic Americans is still a patented product and sold by a few companies. In an article by Belluz, the inventors of insulin thought it was unethical to patent a life saving drug and sold it to university of Toronto for $ 1. However, if the investors were alive today, they would be shocked to death to realize that the price of insulin has been on an upward trajectory and some patients have to forego their injection because of the price. We are living in nation where some people due to their social-economic status have to choose between seeking preventive care and their daily bread. This is not a characteristic of a solid infrastructure. Additionally, Rosenthal (2018), highlights how our healthcare is a huge business by noting that hospitals for long have been taking advantage of patients and the poor in the community.