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The importance of public health

An Alabama official reflects on the changes to public health since COVID-19 arrived.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Public health is more than checking on pipes and recording how clean a restaurant is. According to District Officer, Wes Stubblefield, "It's the number one thing is that is protecting the community's health".

Public health is in charge of the All Kids Insurance Program, giving out infant formula, spreading information about different diseases, and maintaining vital records.

When COVID 19 first hit, it shifted the department's focus.

"We had to deal with getting communication out to the public, lawmakers, the media, and healthcare providers spreading information about vaccinations and testing. All of the information came from the CDC which we all know has been mind-boggling," Stubblefield said.

During covid, Public health saw a rise in other illnesses like tuberculosis and sickness between mothers and infants as well as seeing illnesses caused long-covid.

But wait...isn't tuberculosis a thing of the past?

Tuberculosis

Did you know that TB, an airborne infectious disease, remains one of the leading causes of death in the world? Each day, over 4,100 people lose their lives to TB and nearly 28,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 66 million lives since the year 2000. Significant progress has occurred, but with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, TB deaths increased in 2020 for the first time in more than a decade.

He says that they have a lot of catching up to do, but are proud of how consistent they were with spreading accurate information.

"We pride ourselves on proving scientific knowledge. And the scientific knowledge changed from the beginning of the pandemic. Until now, we know so much more now about this virus than we did two years ago."