History of Public Health Over Time

How is the History of Public Health from Time to Time? Talking about public health cannot be separated from two Greek metological figures, namely Asclepius and Higeia. Based on the Greek Myth story, Asclepius is mentioned as the first doctor who was handsome and clever, although it is not mentioned what school or education he has taken, but it is said that he was able to treat diseases and even perform surgery based on certain procedures well.

History of Public Health

Hegeia, an assistant who is also his wife, has also made health efforts. The difference between Asclepius and Higeia in the approach/handling of health problems is;

  • Asclepius approached (the treatment of disease), after the disease occurred in someone.
  • Higeia teaches his followers to approach health problems through a "balanced life", such as avoiding toxic foods/drinks, eating nutritious (good) food, getting enough rest and doing sports. If someone has fallen ill, Higeia recommends making efforts naturally to cure the disease, among other things, it is better to strengthen the body with good food, rather than medication/surgery.

The following is the History of Public Health from Time to Time

Early Civilizations

In general, there are no records of the earliest community health practices. Maybe the practice is in the form of abstinence from defecating in tribal areas or near drinking water sources. It may also be a ritual related to the funeral of the deceased. Of course, the use of herbs for the prevention and treatment of disease and community aid in childbirth are practices that predate the existence of the archaeological record.

a. Ancient Societies (before 500 BC)

Excavations at the sites of several notable early civilizations have revealed evidence of community health activities. Archaeological finds from the Indus valley in northern India, dated to around 2000 BC, suggest the presence of bathrooms and drainage systems within houses and drains that were located lower than street level. System

Drains are also found among the ruins of the Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt (2700-2000 BC). The Myceneans, who lived on Crete in 1600 BC, had toilets, flush systems, and sewers. Written prescriptions for medicines were successfully interpreted from Sumerian clay tablets (inscriptions) that date to around 2100 BC. 

Until about 1500 BC, more than 700 drugs were known to the Egyptians. Perhaps the earliest writing related to public health is the Code of Hammurabi, the famous king of Babylon, who lived 3900 years ago. Hammurabi's laws also contained laws relating to medical practice and health. The Bible's Book of Leviticus, written around 1500 BC, provides instructions on personal hygiene, camp sanitation, disinfection of wells, isolation of lepers, garbage disposal, and maternity hygiene.

b. Classical Culture (500 BC-500 AD)

During the 13th and 12th centuries BC, Greeks began traveling to Egypt and continued to do so for the next several centuries. The knowledge of the Babylonians, Egyptians, Jews and other tribes of the Eastern Mediterranean was included in the Greek philosophy of health and medicine. During the “golden age” of ancient Greece (in the 5th and 6th centuries BC), men participated in games of strength and skill and swam in public facilities. 

There is very little evidence that this emphasis on fitness and on success in athletic competition is imposed equally among all members of society. Participation in these activities was not supported and even prohibited for women, the poor, or slaves. The Greeks also actively carried out communications sanitation. They supplied the local town's wells with water drawn from the mountains 10 miles away. In at least one city, water from a distant source is stored in a reservoir 370 feet above sea level.

The Romans developed this Greek technology and built aqueducts that could carry it for miles. Evidence of some 200 Roman aqueducts survive today, from Spain to Syria and from northern Europe to northern Africa. 

The Romans also built aqueducts and initiated other community health activities, including the regulation of building construction, garbage disposal, and cleaning and repair of roads. The Roman Empire was indeed a repository of Greek medical ideas, but with few exceptions, the Romans did little to advance medical thought. 

However, there is one important contribution they made to the field of medicine and health care-hospitals. Although the first hospitals were only shelters for sick slaves, before the Roman era, Christians had built public hospitals as charitable organizations. When the Roman empire collapsed in AD 476, most public health activities disappeared.

The History of Public Health in Middle Ages (500-1500AD)

The period from the end of the Roman Empire in the West to 1500 AD is known as the Middle Ages. The approach to health and disease today is very different from that of the Roman Empire. During this period, Roman materialism and spiritual consciousness grew. Health problems are seen as having spiritual causes and spiritual solutions. 

This view was correct in the early Middle Ages, during the period known as the "dark ages" (AD 500-1000). both ritual beliefs and Christians blamed supernatural forces for causing disease. The teachings of St. Augustine for example, stated that disease is caused by demons who are sent to torment human souls, and most Christians believe that sickness is a punishment for their sins. Failure to account for the role of the physical and biological environment in the causal relationship of communicable diseases led to vicious and uncontrolled epidemics during this spiritual era of public health. 

This epidemic caused suffering and death of millions of people. One of the first recorded epidemics was the leprosy epidemic. Until 1200 AD, it is estimated that there were around 19,000 leprosy and leprasaria shelters in Europe. The deadliest epidemic disease of that period was the bubonic plague. It is difficult for us, living at the beginning of the 21st century, to imagine the impact of the bubonic plague on Europe. Three major epidemics of bubonic plague: the first started in AD 543, the second in 1348, and the last in 1664. 

The worst epidemic occurred in the 14th century, when the disease was called the "black death". In Europe alone, about 25 million people became its victims. This number exceeds the number of people living in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania now. Half the population in London died and in some parts of France only 1 in 10 people survived.

During the Middle Ages there were also epidemics of other diseases, including smallpox, diphtheria, measles, influenza, tuberculosis, anthrax and trachoma. Many other diseases, currently undetected, are taking their turn. The last epidemic disease during this period was syphilis, which appeared in 1492. This disease, like other epidemics, killed thousands of people.

Renaissance and Colonization

The Renaissance period is a period marked by the rebirth of thoughts about the characteristics of nature and humanity. Trade between cities and between countries has developed and there has been an increase in population in big cities. This period is also marked by exploration and discovery. 

The journeys of Columbus, Magellan, and other explorers ultimately led to a period of colonialism (colonialism). The impact of the Renaissance on community health was enormous. A closer study of the Extraordinary Events (KLB) of disease that occurred during that period revealed that diseases such as the bubonic plague not only killed saints but also killed sinners. In addition, the belief that disease is caused by environmental factors, not spiritual factors, is growing. 

For example, the term malaria (which means dirty air) is a distinctive designation for moist and wet air, which often becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes that transmit malaria. A more critical observation of disease results in a more accurate description of the symptoms and consequences of a disease. These observations led to the early recognition of whooping cough, typhus, scarlet fever, and malaria, as distinct and distinct diseases. Epidemics of smallpox, malaria and pestilence continued to proliferate in England and throughout Europe. In 1665, the bubonic plague killed 68,596 people in London, which at that time had a population of 460,000 (15% of the population were victims). Explorers, colonists, and traders and their crews spread disease to colonized areas and local populations throughout the New World. Smallpox, measles, and other diseases ravaged the unprotected native population

18th century

The 18th century was marked by industrial development. Even though he began to recognize the nature of a disease, the living conditions at that time were not very conducive to health. Cities are very crowded and water sources are inadequate and often unsanitary. Streets are usually uncrowded, very dirty, and full of trash. Many houses have dirty and unhealthy floors. The workplace is unsafe and unhealthy. Most of the workers are the poor, including children, who are forced to work long hours as contracted helpers. Many of the jobs are unsafe or must be done in an unhealthy environment, such as textile factories and coal mining.

One of the advances in medicine, which occurred at the end of the 18th century, deserves mention because of its significance for public health. In 1796, Dr. Edward Jenner successfully demonstrated the process of vaccination as a protection against smallpox. He did this by inoculating a boy with material derived from the pus of cowpox disease (Vaccinia). When later exposed to material from the pus disease (variola), the boy remained healthy. 

Dr.'s findings Jenner remains one of the greatest discoveries of all time to both medicine and public health. Prior to that discovery, millions of people died or even became "pocky" from smallpox. The only known method of prevention is "variolation", a form of inoculation using smallpox itself. This procedure is very dangerous because people who carry out it sometimes actually get smallpox. 

However, during the American Revolution, General George Washington ordered the troops of the American colonies to undergo "variolation". This order he issued to ensure that the smallpox epidemic that attacked would not annihilate his army. Interestingly enough the average age of death for someone living in the United States during that time was 29 years. In the late 18th century, American youth had a variety of medical problems, including ongoing outbreaks smallpox, cholera, typhoid fever and yellow fever. Yellow fever outbreaks usually attack port cities, such as Charleston, Baltomore, New Work, and New Orleans, where ships from tropical America dock. 

The largest epidemic of yellow fever in America occurred in Philadelphia in 1793, with an estimated 23,000 cases, including 4,044 deaths, in a population estimated at only 37,000. To combat the continuing epidemic and many other health problems, such as hygiene and protection of water supplies, several government health agencies were created. In 1798, the Marine Hospital Service (later to become the U.S Public Health Service) was formed to deal with ailments that plagued watercraft. Until 1799, several major cities in America, including Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore also formed city health boards.

The History of Public Health 19th century

During the first half of the 19th century, there were some remarkable advances in public health. Health conditions of life in Europe and Britain remained unsanitary and industrialization meant that more and more people were living in cities. However, better farming methods lead to improved nutrition for many people. During this period, America enjoyed its westward expansion, which was marked by a pioneering spirit, self adequacy, and strong individualism. 

The federal government's approach to health matters is characterized by the French term laissez faire, which means non-interference. In addition, there are several health regulations or health institutions in rural areas. As healing practices flourished, this period was a particularly opportune time for “buyer beware” advice. The epidemic is still continuing in major European and American cities. In 1849, a cholera epidemic struck London. 

Dr. John Snow studied this epidemic and proposed the hypothesis that the disease was caused by the consumption of water from Broad Street pumps. He obtained permission to remove the pump handle, and the epidemic was over. Snow's actions are particularly remarkable because they took place before the discovery that microorganisms could cause disease. The dominant theory of infectious diseases at that time was the “miasmas theory”. 

According to this theory, steam or bad smells (miasmas) coming out of the ground are the source of many diseases. The miasmas theory remained popular throughout most of the 19th century. In America in 1850, Lemuel Shattuck compiled a health report for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which outlined the public health needs for this state. These include recommendations for the establishment of health boards, collection of vital statistics, implementation of sanitary measures, and disease research. Shattuck also recommends health education and exposure control to alcohol, secondhand smoke, junk food, and healing potions. 

Although some of his recommendations took years to become implemented (the Massachusetts Board of Health was not formed until 1869), the significance of Shattuck's report was such that the 1850s became a key period in American public health. Public. Real progress in understanding the causes of various infectious diseases took place in the last quarter of the 19th century. One obstacle to that progress was the theory of spontaneous reproduction, the idea that living organisms could develop from inorganic or nonliving matter. Similar to the theory is the idea that one type of microbe can change into another type of organism. 

In 1862, Louis Pasteur from France proposed the germ theory of disease. During the 1860s and 1870s, he and several others conducted experiments and observations that supported his theory and subverted the theory of spontaneity. Pasteur was really very meritorious because he succeeded in subverting the theory of spontaneous reproduction. 

The German scientist Robert Koch was the one who developed the important criteria and procedures to prove the opinion that certain microbes, and not others, cause certain diseases. Its first demonstration with the anthrax bacillus took place in 1876. Between 1877 and the late 19th century, the identity of a number of bacterial disease agents was established, including the causes of gonorrhea, typhoid, leprosy, tuberculosis, cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, pneumonia, plague and dysentery. This period (1875-1900) is better known as the bacteriological period of public health. 

Although most of the scientific discoveries of the late 19th century occurred in Europe, a considerable amount of public health achievements occurred in America. The first laws against low-quality milk (adulteracion) were passed in 1856, the first hygiene surveys were conducted in New York City in 1864, and the American Public Health Association was founded in 1872. 

The Marine Hospital Service had new powers to carry out inspections and investigations because of the issuance of Port Zuarantine Act of 1878. In 1890, pasteurization of milk was introduced, while inspection of meat began in 1891. It was also during this period that nurses were first employed by industry (1895) and schools (1899). Also in 1895, the septic tank was introduced for the treatment of dirty water. In 1900, Major Walter Reed of the US Army announced that yellow fever was transmitted by mosquitoes.

The History of Public Health in 20th Century

At the start of the 20th century, life expectancy was less than 50 years. The main causes of death are infectious diseases-influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gastrointestinal infections. Other infectious diseases, for example, typhoid fever, malaria and diphtheria also claimed many victims. Health problems that also occur. Millions of children have a condition characterized by noninfectious diarrhea or skeletal deformities. Although the symptoms of pellagra and rickets were known and explained, the causes of the disease remained a mystery that was not solved until the turn of the century. Discovery that the condition is caused by a vitamin deficiency has been slow as scientists seek a bacterial cause. Vitamin deficiency and one of the precipitating conditions, poor dental hygiene, is very common in the slums of American and European cities. The unavailability of adequate prenatal and postnatal services causes high mortality rates related to pregnancy and childbirth.

B. Periods of Public Health Development

Pre Scientific Period

The cultural history of ancient civilizations centered in Babylonia, Egypt, Greece and Rome (The Pre-Cristion Period). At that time the city government had made efforts to eradicate the disease. As evidence found documents regarding written regulations governing the disposal of waste water (drainage), regulation of drinking water, waste disposal, etc. (Hanlon, 1964). From the results of archaeological discoveries at that time, public toilets (public latrines) and drinking water sources were built, but for 'aesthetic' reasons, not for health reasons. In the ancient Roman empire, regulations were made based on health reasons. 

In this case royal officials were assigned to supervise the field to places of drinking water (Public Bars), food stalls, places of prostitution, etc.

a. First Century to Seventh Century

At this time various diseases attacked the population. In various places endemic or disease outbreaks occur. In fact, there are so many infectious diseases and, therefore, public health is increasingly being felt (Hanlon, 1974).

Cholera spread from England to Africa, then to Asia (especially West Asia and East Asia) and finally to South Asia. In the 7th century India became an endemic center of cholera. Apart from cholera

leprosy spread from Egypt to Asia Minor and Europe via emigrants. At that time, efforts were made to improve the environment, namely hygiene and sanitation, clean drinking water, garbage disposal, and house ventilation.

b. 13th Century to 17th Century

At this time the most terrible plague endemic events occurred in China and India, in 1340 it was recorded that an estimated 13 million people died from the bubonic plague. Another record in India, Egypt and Gaza 13,000 people died every day or during the plague the number of deaths reached 60 million people worldwide.

This event is known as 'The Black Death'. In that century cholera was also a problem in several places. In 1603 there was a death of 1 in 6 people and in

in 1665 increased to 1 in 5 people due to infectious diseases. In 1759, it was recorded that 70 thousand people from the island of Cyprus died from infectious diseases. Other diseases that became epidemic at that time included diphtheria, typhoid, and dysentery.

Scientific Period

18th century to the beginning of the 19th century (Revival of Science) Emerging diseases were not only seen as narrow biological phenomena, but as a complex problem. At this time also found various kinds of vaccines and disinfectant materials. Smallpox vaccine by Luis Pasteur, Carbolic Acid for operating room sterilization was invented by Joseph Lister, Ether for Anesthesia by Willem

Marton, etc. In 1832 in England there was a cholera epidemic. The British Parliament assigned Edmin Chadwich, a social scientist, to lead an investigation into the disease. Based on the report, the British Parliament passed a law on efforts to improve population health, including environmental sanitation and workplaces, factories, etc.

John Simon was appointed by the British government to handle health problems. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, health worker education began to be developed. In 1883 the College of Medicine was founded by John Hopkins in Baltimore USA, with one of its departments being the Department of Public Health. In 1908 medical schools began to spread in Europe, Canada, etc. In terms of community service, in 1855 for the first time the US government formed the Department of Health which was an improvement from the previously formed City Health Department. In 1972 formed the American Public Health Association (American Public Health Association).

That is the history of public health from time to time starting from Early Civilizations, Middle ages, Periods of Public Health Development to Scientific Period. May be useful


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