The public health sector

Around half of the funding for public health services goes to Public Health Units in the District Health Boards to provide public health services to promote and protect population and community health. Public Health Units deliver both health protection and health promotion activities, such as monitoring food safety and providing information to the public about nutrition and physical activity.

Public health organisations


There are more than 200 Non-government Organisations (NGOs) that receive the other half of the funding. These providers include:


What does the public health sector do?

The public health sector ensures that potential risks to the health of the population are monitored, managed and promoted by: 

Health Protection

  • Monitoring our environment to ensure risks to the health of the public are managed
  • Licensing organisations and premises as required by regulation
  • Enforcing public health legislation, including investigating complaints and taking appropriate action
  • Planning for emergencies, so that if one does happen things can swing into action without delay to protect community health
  • Providing environmental advice for the Government and local bodies on an ‘as required’ basis
  • Advocating for health policy change at national, regional and local levels
  • Being involved in policy development at national, regional and local levels
  • Raising public awareness of health issues
  • Developing and managing population-based screening programmes


Health Promotion

  • Working with communities and the wider health sector to develop and establish public health programs
  • Assisting schools with the implementation of the Health and Physical Education curriculum and the development of a health promoting environment
  • Working with the media on public health issues – interviews, press releases, talk-back radio programmes
  • Advocating for policy change at national, regional and local levels
  • Promoting the development of physical and social environments that are conducive to good health
  • Developing and distributing resources – pamphlets, posters, videos, newsletters, teaching kits, interactive websites
  • Training professionals, community workers and educators



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