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Monitor health status: This includes monitoring not only specific diseases (TB, plague, HIV, cancer), but also health status (vital records, health surveys), threats to health (risk factor surveys, environmental monitoring), and the health resources of the community. It cannot be carried out effectively without the collaboration of providers of personal care (disease reports), laboratories (test reports) and care systems (discharge records).

Investigate outbreaks: Investigations begin either because a health professional notices a change from background or ‘steady state’ in a key monitoring element or the community (an unusual case of disease, for example); or asks a question about an observation (a suspected cancer cluster, an observed dumping of chemicals near an industry).

Inform the public: Accessible information about both routine monitoring and specific investigations must be made available to the concerned public, health professionals and policy makers.

Support coalitions: As later modules will discuss, a mobilized community is one of the best ways to achieve any health improvement goals.

Develop policy: Actions should be planned and desired outcomes identified in advance, as a foundation for the specific activities that will follow.

Enforce regulations: Public health must use enforcement power (licensing of restaurants, permitting of industrial sites, certification of care providers, school immunization laws) when voluntary efforts fail in important areas.

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