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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 101-102

Scope of family in public health: An epidemiologist's perspective


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication8-Dec-2014

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-9727.146480

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  Abstract 

The family is a primary unit in all the societies and is the crucial element around which health services are developed by the program managers. Prevention of disease and bringing improvement in the health conditions in any society is dependent upon the ability of the public health professionals to understand and improve the social or environmental factors. The family plays an important part in maintenance of the optimum level of health and in the dynamics of the disease. In addition, there are multiple functions and responsibilities associated with a family, all of which are relevant to health and health behavior. Realizing the impact of the family on the society and community, all the public health strategies are developed with the aim of appealing to the needs of the family. To conclude, the role of the family in the growth of society is of paramount importance, and thus, program managers should implement measures to ensure harmonization within the family for safeguarding the future of human generations in the years to come.

Keywords: Family, public health, social problems


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Scope of family in public health: An epidemiologist's perspective. Muller J Med Sci Res 2015;6:101-2

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Scope of family in public health: An epidemiologist's perspective. Muller J Med Sci Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Sep 18];6:101-2. Available from: http://www.mjmsr.net/text.asp?2015/6/1/101/146480


  Introduction Top


The family is a primary unit in all the societies and is the crucial element around which health services are developed by the program managers. The family is defined as a group of individuals who are in blood relation or joined by the bond of marriage or adoption, and the members of which interact with each other in their respective social roles. [1] The unit of the family deserves heterogeneous importance at variable levels, such as, a biological unit (i.e., the members share a pool of genes); a social unit (i.e., exposed to common physical, biological, and social environment); a cultural unit (i.e., it reflects the culture of the wider society of which it forms a part and determines the behavior and attitudes of its members); and as an epidemiological unit, for providing comprehensive medical and social services. [1],[2]

Dynamics of the Family

Prevention of disease and bringing improvements in the health conditions in any society are dependent upon the ability of the public health professionals to understand and improve the social or environmental factors. [2] Events such as marriage, childbirth, releasing members as adolescents and young adults, and continuing as a couple or single person, and aging years, move families through new stages. [3] Each of these new developmental stages requires adaptation and new responsibilities and thus presents opportunities for implementing health promotion-related activities and interventions. [3]

The Crucial Role of Family

The family plays an important part in the maintenance of an optimum level of health and in the natural history of the disease (prevention/treatment/onset/progression). [2] In addition, there are multiple functions and responsibilities associated with a family such as upbringing of the children (the physical care of the dependent young so that they survive to adulthood and perpetuate the family); enculturation (the process of learning the values, culture, traditions, rituals, beliefs, in order to make children fit for membership in the wider society); building personality (the family being the most immediate component of the child's external environment, plays a crucial role in developing the capacity of a person to resist the stress and strain of life); safeguarding the health of dependant adults, such as the sick/injured; an antenatal/lactating mother; or an elderly or handicapped member, as curative medicine is incompetent to sustain the health promotion measures for a long period of time, and thus, family plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and improving the quality of life of the dependant adults; arresting the occurrence of social problems (like juvenile delinquency, child labor, child trafficking, prostitution, substance abuse, etc.), which mostly precipitate when parents are unable to meet the physical and emotional needs of their children, by maintaining a suitable enabling environment in the family; and in averting the occurrence/interrupting the transmission of a disease or facilitating the cure or management of an illness; all of which are relevant to health and health behavior. [1],[4],[5],[6],[7] These customs are passed on to the subsequent generations and have a large social component, which varies from society to society. [1]

Implications for Practice

Realizing the impact of the family on society and community, all the public health strategies are developed with the aim of appealing to the needs of the family. [3],[8] In fact, most of the medical universities have started special postgraduate and diploma courses in family medicine to meet the demands of the modern era. [9],[10] Furthermore, the entire team of outreach health workers has been trained to identify the needs of the families on a tailor-made basis, and then support them with suitable healthcare and rehabilitation services. [2],[8]


  Conclusion Top


To conclude, the role of family in the growth of the society is of paramount importance, and thus, program managers should implement measures to ensure harmonization within the family for safeguarding the future of human generations in years to come.

 
  References Top

1.
Park K. Medicine and social sciences. In: Park K, editor. Park's Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine. 20 th ed. Jabalpur: Banarsidas Bhanot; 2009. p. 595-8.   Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Qu L, Weston R. Australian Households and Families - Australian Family Trends No. 4, 2013. Available from: http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/factssheets/2013/familytrends/aft4/aft4.pdf. [Last accessed on 2014 Jan 22].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Health and Behavior: Research, Practice, and Policy. Health and Behavior: The Interplay of Biological, Behavioral, and Societal Infl uences. Washington: National Academies Press; 2001. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK43749/. [Last accessed on 2014 Jan 22].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Kuo DZ, Houtrow AJ, Arango P, Kuhlthau KA, Simmons JM, Neff JM. Family-centered care: Current applications and future directions in pediatric health care. Matern Child Health J 2012;16:297-305.   Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Snyder JJ, Schrepferman LP, Bullard L, McEachern AD, Patterson GR. Covert antisocial behavior, peer deviancy training, parenting processes, and sex differences in the development of antisocial behavior during childhood. Dev Psychopathol 2012;24:1117-38.   Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Omokhodion FO, Omokhodion SI. Socio-economic determinants of child labour and attitudes to child labour among school children in Ibadan. Afr J Med Med Sci 2004;33:305-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Chakravarthy B, Shah S, Lotfipour S. Adolescent drug abuse - awareness & prevention. Indian J Med Res 2013;137:1021-3.  Back to cited text no. 7
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8.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Evaluation of trained Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers regarding their knowledge, attitude and practices about child health. Rural Remote Health 2012;12:2099.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Medical Council of India. Colleges and Courses: MD - Family Medicine. Available from: http:// www.mciindia.org/InformationDesk/CollegesCoursesSearch.aspx. [Last accessed on 2014 Jan 13].  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Monash University. Masters of Family Medicine. Available from: http:// www.med.monash.edu.au/general-practice/teaching/masterfammed.html#what. [Last accessed on 2014 Jan 13].  Back to cited text no. 10
    



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