Tag: public health officials
These are the people who communicate public health information provided by surveillance and health information systems to policymakers, health care providers, and the administrative agencies involved in the control of public health problems. However, it needs to be clear that it is not the task of the public health official to answer a journalist, private citizen, or deputy of parliament who asks about the frequency of a disease. And the same can be said of a situation giving rise to social alarm because of the unexpected emergence of a public health problem.
These officials' goal is to transmit to their superiors the scientific evidence that is important for decisionmaking. Simply put, it is to communicate health information in such a way that it can be interpreted appropriately by individuals and society.
It is those who are institutionally responsible who make the decision of whether or not to recommend a particular series of measures, based on a wide array of scientific, cultural, economic, political, and ethical considerations. Public health officials also should not try to persuade members of legislative bodies.
These individuals have an important responsibility as advocates within the bureaucracy. It is precisely within their own institutions that public health officials should exercise efforts of persuasion. As public health professionals, public health officials have the obligation to promote and recommend to policymakers the most appropriate course of action in line with the available scientific knowledge and scientific uncertainty and after weighing whether the burdens to society are reasonable when compared with the probable benefits.
This is neither easy nor comfortable because it often means going against the general principles that govern decisionmaking in the institutions where they work. However, once the decision is made, the responsibility of the public health official as an advocate ends.
Despite my criticisms, I have generally felt that our public health officials have done a reasonable job. I’d give them something in the C+ to B range. This grade does not include the colossal testing failure, which I suspect was thanks to bureaucrats who we may discover are not public health people at all. But there is another major test that has been failed, and this one is squarely in the laps of our ‘expert’ health officials.
This failure concerns masks.
We have known for a very, very, very long time that masks have great potential to curb the spread … continue reading...