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The environmental health professionals (EHPs) works at the forefront towards managing public health as each aspect of the environment has influence on causing positive or negative impact on the health of the individuals. The five key areas where the environmental health professionals work are food safety and hygiene, workplace health, environmental pollution, public health and housing (Brown et al., 2019). In this essay, a detailed role of the environmental health professionals in relation to protecting the health and well-being of public in Covid-19 pandemic is to be evaluated and discussed.
One of the roles of the environmental health professional (EHP) for well-being of public during the Covid-19 pandemic is working collaboratively with other health professionals in communicating health prevention actions through programs regarding the disease to the people (Morse et al., 2020). This is because they act to help in spreading the information about preventive actions within the local surroundings so that the people in the locality get effective education and accordingly perform activities in improving their current health situation during Covid-19 to avoid getting infected by the disease. As argued by Billot et al. (2016), lack of effective information about preventive health action programs makes the people remain uneducated and unsupervised regarding the change to be implemented in their everyday life for enhanced health. This is because the health programs contain wide amount of information about the dos and don’ts of behaviour required for controlling enhanced health. Since the environmental health professionals perform effective evaluation of the locality to determine where actions are to be taken to mitigate health issues, thus their involvement in collaborating with health professionals in spreading the program for Covid-19 prevention is appropriate. This is because they inform the areas where the programs are to be further spread for improving public health and well-being of individuals along with enhancing reach of preventive actions of Covid-19 in the public (Mahase, 2020).
The EHP in improving health and well-being of the public in Covid-19 pandemic has the role to protect them from any environmental hazards in their living surroundings which could lead them to get infected with the virus (Smith and Judd, 2020). This is because presence of traces of virus on any surface in the living places while being used by the people act as environmental hazards that lead to negatively impact the health of the public in Covid-19 pandemic by making them develop disease or health complication, in turn, interfering to avoid them achieving enhanced well-being in life. For this purpose, the EHPs have the adjacent role of promoting water hygiene and sanitisation in the workplaces (Morse et al., 2020). For example, the public in Covid-19 pandemic is required to access drinking water for personal use which they may avail by visiting a common water purifier where it may be difficult in ensuring proper hand washing and social distancing techniques to be maintained in the place to use the purifier. In order to manage this situation, holistic view of the EHPs is required where they can include the experts and workers of the Covid-19 pandemic in reaching a coordinated decision regarding the way activities are to be maintained so that the issue is resolved and public well-being is ensured (Smith and Judd, 2020).
The EHR perform the role of investigating food premises in the working environment during Covid-19 pandemic to identify the nature of protective actions required or taken to ensure better health of the public using the premises and prevent them from spreading infection or diseases in the area (Adams and Walls, 2020). This is evident as presence of workers in food premises who are affected by Covid-19 leads to create risky situation for the public as well as workers to get infected by the disease. The intervention of EHRs in the food premises are seen to make them play the role of educating managers and workers how to identify if any Covid-19 patients are working in the area and the way they can avoid such person to be present in the premises for the good health of the public as well as them (Mahmood et al., 2020).
The EHP in improving public health and well-being during Covid-19 pandemic has the role to assess and identify probabilities of risk in the communities and workplace regarding the disease (explorehealthcareers.org, 2019). This is because identifying and assessing the risk regarding Covid-19 in the workplace and community by EHP leads them to educate people about the prioritised actions to be performed in averting the risk so that disrupted health and fatal conditions can be avoided. For example, EHP examines the air conditioning system, in the workplace during the investigation for identifying and assessing risk at the workplace regarding Covid-19. This is because air conditioning system is seen to manage indoor temperature of the air in the workplaces. An effectively maintained and managed air conditioning system is able to reduce spreading of Covid-19 in the workplace by enhancing the air change, lowering recirculation and enhancing use of outdoor air (Megahed and Ghoneim, 2020). The EHPs can ensure that recirculation of the air does not occur so that any Covid-19 virus cannot thrive in the place, in turn, promoting well-being of the public at the workplace (Megahed and Ghoneim, 2020). Moreover, Covid-19 virus is seen to stay over surface such as table, desk, floor and others in the workplace. The EHPs play the role in making the authorities in identifying such areas where they are to maintain enhanced hygiene during Covid-19 pandemic so that the infection does not get spread to the public working in the facility (Megahed and Ghoneim, 2020).
In the study of Janssen et al. (2020), it is mentioned that EHPs in improving public health and well-being regarding Covid-19 plays the role of educating city officials and developers regarding the link between the health and community environment in spreading the disease. The role is essential as the planners and developers on getting educational input from the EHPs regarding their community plan are seen to implement effective health principles such as social distancing, compulsory use of masks in the area and others which they previously avoided in the plans. This in turn leads the EHPs to prevent probable transmission of the disease through physical contact in the community to be faced by the public that eventually leads them to promote health well-being of the public. It is evident as, without health hazards in the community, the public are able to enjoy enhanced healthy living (explorehealthcareers.org, 2019). The EHPs also has the role to implement environmental health laws at different workplaces in the communities such as hospital, food parks and others during Covid-19 pandemic. This is because it leads them to lawfully and ethically manage actions in the community that protects health hazards regarding Covid-19 to be faced by public in the surroundings (Ryan et al., 2020).
The EHPs in improving public health and well-being during Covid-19 has the role of creating provision of delivery of healthcare services for Covid-19 and supporting health professionals to resolve probable stigma and fear regarding Covid-19 pandemic. This is because presence of stigma and fear regarding Covid-19 pandemic among the public which if not resolved leads them to act inappropriately with many individuals in the locality and isolate them, in turn, creating a chaotic environmental condition. Thus, by performing their role of creating healthcare service provision in the area regarding Covid-19 and acting to resolve stigma regarding the disease leads the EHPs to create a stable and healthy environment condition of living for the public to live (Ryan et al., 2020). The EHPs has the role to investigate the way waste management in Covid-19 situation is been maintained by the public to ensure their well-being and health. This is because inappropriate management of waste by the public leads to spread of Covid-19 virus in the locality in turn develop a health disaster for the public (Smith and Judd, 2020).
Adams, J.G. and Walls, R.M., 2020. Supporting the health care workforce during the COVID-19 global epidemic. Jama, 323(15), pp.1439-1440.
Billot, L., Corcoran, K., McDonald, A., Powell-Davies, G. and Feyer, A.M., 2016. Impact evaluation of a system-wide chronic disease management program on health service utilisation: a propensity-matched cohort study. PLoS medicine, 13(6), p.e1002035.
Brown, P., Clark, S., Zimmerman, E., Valenti, M. and Miller, M.D., 2019. Health Professionals’ Environmental Health Literacy. In Environmental Health Literacy (pp. 195-227). Springer, Cham.
explorehealthcareers.org 2019, Environmental Health Overview, Available at: https://explorehealthcareers.org/field/environmental-health/#:~:text=Environmental%20health%20professionals%20work%20to,and%20addressing%20environmental%20risk%20factors.&text=Most%20environmental%20health%20professionals%20specialize,Protecting%20our%20food%20supply [Accessed on: 7 September 2020]
Janssen, M. and van der Voort, H., 2020. Agile and adaptive governance in crisis response: Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Information Management, p.102180.
Mahase, E., 2020. Covid-19: environmental health officers and retired doctors step up to fill contact tracing void. BMJ, 369, pp-16-56.
Mahmood, A., Eqan, M., Pervez, S., Alghamdi, H.A., Tabinda, A.B., Yasar, A., Brindhadevi, K. and Pugazhendhi, A., 2020. COVID-19 and frequent use of hand sanitizers; human health and environmental hazards by exposure pathways. Science of the Total Environment, 742, p.140561.
Morse, T., Chidziwisano, K., Musoke, D., Beattie, T.K. and Mudaly, S., 2020. Environmental health practitioners: a key cadre in the control of COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa. BMJ Global Health, 5(7), p.e003314.
Ryan, B.J., Swienton, R., Harris, C. and James, J.J., 2020. Environmental health workforce–essential for interdisciplinary solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, pp.1-3.
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