Safeguarding public health

Benefiting public health
Fostering public health
Improving public health
Improving public health conditions

Whereas medicine primarily focuses on treating disease in individuals, public health focuses on preventing disease and improving health in communities.  Public health activities are far-reaching and varied. They include health promotion campaigns, infectious disease surveillance and control, ensuring access to clean air, water and safe food, screening for disease, community health interventions and policy and planning activities.


Results of the survey (published 2002) of the health status of people living in 175 countries revealed that Belgium is the healthiest country in the world. Eight of the nine remaining top ten countries went to Iceland, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Italy and Norway, while the only non-European country to achieve top-ten status was Australia who ranked joint tenth with Germany and Denmark. The USA only managed 17th place and the UK came 23rd. To calculate the rankings researchers assessed the health status of citizens by determining how much the country spent on health and examining health indicators such a life expectancy, maternal and infant death rates, and immunization rates. The findings suggest that spending large amounts of money on health does not always lead to a healthy population. The researchers behind the survey believe that this is because people in richer countries tend to opt for curative rather than preventative medicine.

World Health Organization
World Federation of Public Health Associations
Central American Public Health Council
East, Central and Southern African Public Health Association
Caribbean Public Health Association
European Public Health Association
Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region
Asia Pacific Public Health Nutrition Association
European Public Health Students Association
Latin American and Caribbean Association of Public Health Education
European Society of Public Health Ophthalmology
European Association of Dental Public Health
Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health
European College for Veterinary Public Health
Association of Schools of Public Health in the African, Eastern Mediterranean, South-East and Western Pacific Regions of the World Health Organization
SEAMEO Regional Tropical Medicine and Public Health Network
Women's International Public Health Network
European Public Health Alliance
Partial agreement in the social and public health field
European Public Health Foundation
International Network for the History of Public Health
European Public Health Information Network for Eastern Europe
Project Mégapoles
Nordic School of Public Health
International Institute of Concern for Public Health, Toronto
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
Association of Directors of Institutes of Health and National Public Health Laboratories of Latin America
European Public Health Centre North Rhine-Westphalia
SEAMEO TROPMED Regional Centre for Public Health, Hospital Administration, Environmental and Occupational Health
Royal Society for Public Health
South Pacific Public Health Association
Union of Arab Public Health Organizations
Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being