The value of public health is all around us

NPHW_Logo_Today marks the beginning of National Public Health Week, which celebrates the work of public health and encourages further action to ensure better health for all. This year’s theme is “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money.”

The value of a strong public health system is all around us—in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the places we learn, live, play and work. It’s in the thousands of people whose lives are saved by seat belts, young people who say “No” to tobacco and children given a healthy start thanks to vaccines.

The value of public health to our lives and pocketbooks

  • Routine childhood immunizations save $9.9 million in direct healthcare costs, save 33,000 lives and prevent 14 million cases of disease.
  • Every $1 invested in poison centers saves $13.39 in medical costs and lost productivity, saving more than $1.8 billion every year. Poison centers receive 4 million calls every year, 2.4 million of which are about poison exposures.
  • From 1991 to 2006, investments in HIV prevention averted more than 350,000 infections and saved more than $125 billion in medical costs.
  • In 2009, seat belts saved about 13,000 lives.

Public health officials monitor viruses, such as influenza and West Nile, and implement prevention strategies; enforce food safety rules; respond to and help prepare for natural disasters and emergencies; provide access to vaccines; ensure safe housing and working conditions and more.

To learn more about public health or National Public Health Week, visit

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