Online promotion of public health

Authored by: Cynthia S.Y. Lau , Ben Y.F. Fong

The Routledge Handbook of Public Health and the Community

Print publication date:  August  2021
Online publication date:  August  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367634193
eBook ISBN: 9781003119111
Adobe ISBN:


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The need for competency-based training for the public health workforce is well recognised and documented. In the promotion of public health and associated community initiatives, a sound knowledge base is an essential and irreplaceable requirement apart from the experience of the professionals, and to some extend that of the public members. Traditional mode of learning is gradually substituted by a blended learning model of face-to-face and online methods. This is a natural adoption arising from the fast development and population-wide use of the information technology. The need for online learning is often also due to human and financial resource limitations, and now more substantially with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the entire world. An effective distance education programme and training model for public health practitioners includes a standardised process for development, review, evaluation and continuous quality improvement, and should address topics related to regulatory responsibilities of public health practitioners, e.g. compliance with codes and regulations governing housing, food safety, water supplies, waste management, etc., public health surveillance, case investigation, disease prevention, health promotion and emergency preparedness. Online learning is equally applicable to continuing education for the practitioners. In the community, social network technologies have become part of health education, campaigns and wider public health promotion because social support, peer pressure and information sharing in online communities affect health behaviours. Moreover, mobile health monitoring of patients with chronic diseases in the community is becoming a daily e-application with home monitoring and wearable devices. Even the elderly is learning about health and other disciplines from the e-platform such as MOOCs to keep their connectivity with the society. The chapter reviews the extent and scope of the application of online learning in the promotion of public health among the practitioners and in the community both internationally and locally. It also proposed the ways for maximisation of community engagement and further development.

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