Biostatistics refers to the application of statistics to biology. Every day, there are statistics used to back assertions about public health and ways to improve it. There is a frequent press release on articles assessing the roles of the environment, diet, exercise, and access to medical care. Since the effects of these factors vary greatly from one individual to the other, use of statistics to assist in drawing conclusions from the raw data collected is vital to those interested in public health. When medics make assertions such as “smoking is harmful to the lungs,” or “alcohol causes a rise in blood pressure,” statistics plays a crucial role in determining the rationality of such assertions. Additionally, statistics aims to define claims without support from data or those based on faulty investigational designs. This paper discusses the role of biostatistics in public health.
Biostatistics assists in identifying various health problems affecting populations and to what extent. During assessments, biostatistics role is to determine the health issue, decide on the health information to gather, find patterns of collecting the data, summarize it, and present the findings in a way that can best describe the target population. In the assessment, it is necessary that the biostatisticians design surveys of the target population, plan for research that can complement the reviews, and help scientists estimate the magnitude of a problem and accompanying risk factors. They create mathematical tools that can assist in measuring the problem and estimating costs of the undesirable side effects of both curative and preventive measures (Shahbaba, 2012). Moreover, they ascertain the risk factors for a disease and predict any impact on the change of rule by the public health.
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Another importance of biostatistics is in policy setting. In this, the biostatistics assists public health to prioritize the problem at hand, determine preventive measures and any possible intervention, set regulations geared at achieving change, and forecast on the effects of such alterations on the populace. Biostatisticians use approximation and sampling techniques to study factors linked to compliance and aftermath when coming up with public health policies (Shahbaba, 2012). The questions they address at this point are whether the improvement is because of compliance or something different, how to measure compliance and ways to intensify compliance level in the target populace. When analyzing data, biostatisticians search for any possible unintended or deliberate imprecision in responses and measurements. To ensure that factors that assist in policymaking are accurate, they design survey instruments in such a manner that they can detect inaccuracies and develop techniques to correct missing observations or non-responses (Perry, 2013).
Once the policies are set, biostatisticians evaluate the effects of interventions and decide on whether any beneficial changes are from a change in policy. They make certain that services required by the target population are provided as per the policy measures. Additionally, they assess on how well public health regulators and other sectors involved in complying with the laid down policies.
Practically all observations in public health show variations from one individual to the other making it difficult to show clearly the consequences of a given factor to a person’s health. For instance, there are cases where one smokes every day and manages to live up to 95 years while another who never smoked died of lung cancer at 20 years. Biostatistics aims to sort out such contradictions by sampling a population and aggregating effects of one group compared to the other. It identifies the relationship between the two factors by stating that those who smoke are more likely to suffer from lung diseases than non-smokers are. To find this relationship, statisticians use probability ideas as a mode of measurement (Sullivan, 2012).
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In summary, biostatistics assists scientists in assessing the extent to which a target population is affected by a particular problem. It gathers information, summarizes it, and presents it for the policy makers to undertake the necessary preventive and curative measures. Biostatisticians assess how well the public health regulators and the public comply with the laid down policies. They also assist in finding the relationship between assertions and findings by use of probability.