What is Preventive Social Medicine?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2018
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Preventative social medicine usually refers to a branch of medicine which aims to prevent disease through community programs and outreach. This can include things like non-profit organizations who sponsor disease prevention and public health departments who offer services to low income families. These services may include things like cancer screenings, vaccinations, and family planning.

The need for preventive social medicine emerged during the industrial revolution when cities grew larger and people were living in closer proximity. This allowed diseases to spread more easily and more quickly from person to person. Health centers generally offer things like education on staying healthy as well as vaccinations to children to prevent once-common illnesses like polio. Women and couples may also receive family planning education and care, including birth control, cervical cancer screenings, and pregnancy testing.

Services offered through preventive social medicine may vary based on the location and individualized needs of a particular community. Some areas may have more widespread issues with some illnesses or conditions than others. Offerings may also depend on the location and how much funding is available to sponsor the programs.

Some preventive social medicine is run through non-profit organizations which are started to combat a particular disease. Human immunodeficiency virus, for instance, has received widespread attention in many nations and organizations have emerged to help educate the public, test for the disease, and offer treatment options for those who can’t afford standard treatment.


Government-owned hospitals are also part of the preventive social medicine movement. The main goal of this field of medicine is to provide widespread health care to the general population regardless of financial abilities to pay and circumstances. On most areas, this allows individuals the right to receive emergency medical care and transportation regardless of their ability to pay for such services.

Another aspect of social medicine is government-funded health insurance. This is a program which covers all or most of a person's medical expenses. Sometimes a small fee is charged per month or per visit, although this is often minimal. Those who participate in these programs are usually required to meet certain income requirements.

Some areas also have government-funded clinics, doctor's offices, and other specialized locations which serve lower income families. Children's hospitals and cancer centers are also often available to any child, even if parents can't pay. Many of these programs are run using tax dollars, while others are funded mostly through donations.

The primary notion behind preventive social medicine is that everyone should have access to medical care. This not only improves the lives of those in lower income brackets, but also keeps the overall population healthy by cutting down on communicable disease. It also helps prevent unwanted pregnancies and allows infants to get off to a healthy start by ensuring mothers get proper prenatal care.



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