Public Health vs Social Work: Which One is Better?

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Global Health is a concern for every country, community, city or town. There are a lot of Non-governmental organisations both at the global or community level who are interested in the dissemination of information, the level of knowledge in communities and how they react in the event of a pandemic.

Handling the health of a community, state or country requires adequate knowledge in various aspects of public health and social work. Sometimes you might even be required to obtain a graduate degree in either social work or public health if you are looking to start a career in that field.

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What is Public Health?

According to the CDC Foundation, Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, detecting, preventing and responding to infectious diseases.

With Experts in Public Health, it is believed that major health challenges would be reduced especially at community levels through policy recommendations, conducting research and creating awareness to the public on preventive measures that can be taken.

Individuals who love to work in public health require a bachelors degree or a graduate degree in public health with a good level of communication, presentation, Research and analytical skills. Working might be mostly within local or specific communities located in your areas of interest. Knowledge of the local dialect of the communities you intend to visit is an added advantage as it makes communication easier.

What is Social Work?

Social work is a field that deals with helping people manage certain aspects of their daily lives. Every social worker aims to help people manage their daily lives, understand and adapt to illness, disability, death, and obtain social services. They also make provision for health care, government assistance and legal aid in situations that require such.

In many countries, social workers help to develop and implement different policies and rules that address certain programs such as domestic violence, child abuse e.t.c

As a social worker, you would be allowed to either work both in private or public practise with the government, provided you have demonstrated that you have good interpersonal, communication, and a degree in social work.

Social work involves visiting people from different spheres of life with different temperament and approach to situations thus you would need to have a lot of patience when working with people.

Career Opportunities In Public Health

Individuals who have a degree in public health can enjoy working in various organisations whilst occupying different positions such as;

  • Community Health Specialist; they work alongside a team of epidemiologists and disease specialists to research different illnesses that communities are exposed to.
  • Public Health Administrator; As a public health administrator, you would be responsible for planning and implementing disease prevention programs and public services. You would ensure that the quality of programs is up to the national recommendations as given by the state or federal government.
  • Prevention Specialist; they work on recommending and identifying preventive measures for communities and members of societies that might have problems with disease/infection control. Asides from identifying preventive measures, they would also educate the public on steps to take towards healthy living.
  • Research Assistant; research assistants work in laboratories or research agencies to conduct specific testing on different illnesses or diseases. they might be responsible for either sample collection or analysis and interpretation of data
  • Public Health Epidemiologist; they assist with data collection and analysis of data gotten from designated areas with a specific interest.
  • Prevention Expert;  involves the use of expertise in creating and implementing helpful prevention programs that might be useful to different communities.

Career Opportunities In Social Work

A career in social work would involve working in schools, hospitals and even communities under the following positions;

  • Mental Health And Social Abuse Social worker; In these roles, you will often work in hospitals, rehabilitation centres or community clinics with clients who have both mental health and substance abuse issues. 
  • Child And Family Social Worker: Usually work with parents, guardians, and children. Workers with a specialisation in child social work ensure that children under their watch live in a healthy environment with no sign of abuse.
  • Healthcare Social Worker; These social workers evaluate clients’ emotional, financial, and support needs and ensure they receive the necessary attention from members of a healthcare team. They often work with an individual or family’s healthcare provider to develop plans for specialized care such as in-home care services or other types of arrangements.
  • Social and Community Service Manager; They either work with government entities, private facilities, or nonprofit organizations to provide services to vulnerable groups in their communities, including the homeless, children, veterans, and the elderly. They may also work with different NGO’s to increase funding for the communities where they work.

Social Work Vs. Public Health Which is Better?

Both Social work and Public health both involve offering services to people of different age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds.  Much attention is paid to how the spread of diseases or illnesses can be slowed down by educating communities about adequate preventive measures.

While Social work seeks to improve the quality of lives in communities and societies by giving them all the help that may be required especially if there has been a case of abuse on the individual. Most entry-level jobs in social work and public health, however, require a master’s degree.

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