Principles

and neurological disorders in this chapter

Principles of public health

Health promotion and disease prevention Health policy

Service provision and delivery of care Disability and rehabilitation Stigma

Education and training Conclusions

This chapter explains briefly the principles of public health, epidemiology and the burden of disease, and the ways in which health promotion and disease prevention are achieved. It looks at risks to health and prevention strategies, and explains what health policy means. It then describes the goals and functions of health systems and in particular considers service provision for neurological disorders. As many neurological disorders result in considerable morbidity, special attention is paid to disability and rehabilitation. The all-important part played by stigma in neurological disorders is assessed and, finally, education and training in neurology are discussed.

Many distinctions can be made between the practice of public health and that of clinical neurology. Public health professionals approach neurology more broadly than neurologists by monitoring neurological disorders and related health concerns of entire communities and promoting healthy practices and behaviours among them to ensure that populations stay healthy. Public health specialists focus on health and disease of entire populations rather than on individual patients, whereas neurologists usually treat one patient at a time for a specific neurological condition. These two approaches could be seen as being almost at the opposite ends of the health-care spectrum. What this chapter aims to do is to help build bridges between these two approaches and serve as a useful guide to the chapter that follows — on the public health aspects of specific neurological disorders.

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