The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies core functions of public health programs including:
- providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed;
- shaping a research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge;
- setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation;
- articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options;
- monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends.
In particular, public health surveillance can:
- serve as an early warning system for impending public health emergencies;
- document the impact of an intervention, or track progress towards specified goals; and
- monitor and clarify the epidemiology of health problems, allow priorities to be set, and inform health policy and strategies.
- diagnose, investigate, and monitor health problems and health hazards of the community