The People's Health

This second volume on the history of public health in Australia completes the story of the conception and evolution of medicine in the island nation. Whereas volume one details the period from 1788 when Europeans first settled on the east coast of the island until just after World War II, this book carries the story to the end of the twentieth century with the notion of a social view of public health. While health care in the first era was characterized by a focus on disease and mortality patterns very much shaped by communicable diseases, the second period was marked by the need to respond to chronic, degenerative diseases of an aging population, along with emerging infections, in particular HIV/AIDS. Recent years have also seen the emergence of new concerns such as genetically-modified foods and the role of public health in response to bioterrorism. Themes developed in volume one continue to play a major role in recent health care policy, in particular comparisons with public health in the United Kingdom and the United States. The problematic relationship between public health and clinical medicine and the small resources flowing to public health in comparison to those allocated to curative and rehabilitative services continue to be areas of concern. Many politicians and citizens have yet to come to terms fully with the changes required by thinking of health advancement in terms of the interaction of the biological and social nature of humankind.