The Role of Epidemiology Assignment

The Role of Epidemiology Assignment Words: 577

“What is the role of Epidemiology? Explain how Epidemiology can be used to determine priority areas for Australia’s health” Epidemiology is the study of disease in groups or populations. Its role is to develop the health profile of the population through specific data collection it is a useful tool in developing health priority areas. Epidemiology has a number of roles and serves many purposes. One such purpose is assisting in the determination of health priority areas, one such measure of determining priority area’s can be found by studying the mortality rates of a population.

Mortality refers to the number of deaths in a given population by a particular cause over time, mortality rates can be ascertained by the prevalence and incidence of fatal diseases in the population. Discovering the most common causes for death in the can aid in the decision making process of making health priority areas by showing what diseases are killing the most people and who they are effecting, for example either male or female.

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Examples of leading causes of death in Australia for 2005 are ischaemic heart disease and lung cancer, knowledge of this information allows us to prioritize how much funding goes into preventative measures and curative measures of ischaemic heart disease and lung cancer Life expectancy is one measure used to determine health priority areas. Life expectancy is the projected average number of years of life remaining to a person of a particular age, it is based on the current death rates and changes over time.

Having high life expectancy in a population shows the relative health of a population, however, it also shows that it is an aging population meaning that more priority will have to be placed on funding for aged health care facilities such as nursing homes. For example Australia has a high life expectancy at 78 years for males and 83 for females, this means that Australia has an aging population and that in the future health priorities should shift to concerning about aged care facilities and why males have a lower life expectancy thank females.

Another measure of determining health priority areas includes infant mortality rates. Infant mortality refers to the number of deaths in the first year of life per 1000 live births, it is also one of the determinants of life expectancy. Knowledge of the determinants of infant mortality as well as the rate at which babies are dieing over a period of time such as a year or many years can be used to determine health priority areas.

An example of this are the results of infant mortality rates in Australia from 2003 to 2007, over that time period the rate changed from 4. 83 deaths per 1000 live births to 4. 57 deaths per 1000 live births. Knowledge of this information shows helps prioritize the amount of health services currently needed for infants and whether current methods have been effective in decreasing infant mortality. The fourth measure of determining health priority areas is morbidity rates.

Morbidity is the incidence or level of illness in a given population. Knowing the incidence of the number of new cases of diseases occurring in a population over time helps prioritize the amount of focus that should be applied to that disease. For example in 1996 the leading disease occurrence was coronary heart disease, knowledge of this allow us to see that a higher priority is needed for research into curative and preventative measures for coronary heart disease.

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