Maintaining Public Health in the 21st Century

A talk by Sara Rooney

Monday 15th January, 8.00pm, Knowle Village Hall

In a preface to Martin Chuzzlewit, written in November 1849, Charles Dickens wrote: “In all my writings, I hope I have taken every available opportunity to showing the want of sanitary improvements in the neglected dwellings of the poor”.

This was particularly the case when in 1853, in Bleak House, he wrote of “deadly stains contaminating [a character’s] dress” and “dungeon lights burning, as the lamp of life hums ….. heavily, heavily, in the nauseous air, and winking . . . at many horrible things.”

 Here was a public voice of the pressures that drove the emergence of public health professionals, alongside sanitation engineers, in the mid-1800s in a quest to eradicate cholera and other infectious diseases.

 Today, at a time when our health system is creaking badly, the role of public health professionals has changed – but remains that of tackling widespread threats to health in order to reduce the pressures on medical resources and keep people healthier and happier. But what are these 21st century perils? How are they being addressed? And could we, as citizens, help in any way?

 Come and explore this modern equivalent of a Dickensian scourge at our January Speaker Meeting. All welcome.