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Community Health: From Individuals to Health Systems

With the COVID pandemic still persisting after two years, there has been a lot of focus on global health regarding how communities act against epidemics and pandemics. Epidemics can be defined as an increase in cases of a disease/condition happening in a certain region or community. Pandemics can be defined as when an epidemic becomes worldwide with cases affecting more than one region. One of the necessities for communities to deal with at the start of an epidemic is primary care, which is the first line of care in communities and helps manage chronic health conditions. Primary health care reduces pressure on any existing health systems through preventative care information and programs throughout the crisis. There’s been a need for preventative care in communities, especially during the COVID pandemic with many communities putting an emphasis on mask-wearing, social distancing, vaccinating, and other preventative actions to avoid as much strain as possible on physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers.

From the current administration and the CDC, tracking new cases as well as vaccinating as much of the population as possible are two of the primary goals. This is a similar goal that governments in other countries have done in other pandemics like smallpox to reduce the spread and increase herd immunity. The involvement of emergency organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in setting up testing sites and large vaccination sites has helped manage hospital capacity. Physicians and other types of healthcare workers’ jobs are more involved in aid of patients and treating anyone that is affected with COVID or smallpox in a previous pandemic for example. Many healthcare workers have been overworking, and as a result, over 20 medical schools have offered their fourth-year students the opportunity to graduate early to aid the efforts.

For pre-med students, many of the methods to contribute to the pandemic can be done through volunteering, virtual organizations, and setting up community resources. Individuals within their communities helped neighbors who might be more at risk for COVID by getting groceries for them, for example. There have also been community-based groups like giving circles and mutual aid groups to help anyone within the community. There have also been a lot of groups rising with making masks for their communities. From government groups to students, there has been a lot of action to ensure that people get some help dealing with a pandemic.

Thank you for reading!

-Siri Nikku



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