Communities Empowering

Brief Description/Rationale and Current Situation

“Strengthening Community Action” is one of the Population Health Promotion strategies originally articulated in the Ottawa Charter that was adopted at the First International Conference on Health Promotion held in Ottawa in 1986 and co-sponsored by the Canadian Public Health Association, Health and Welfare Canada and the World Health Organization. The Ottawa Charter notes that:

“Health promotion works through concrete and effective community action in setting priorities, making decisions, planning strategies and implementing them to achieve better health. At the heart of this process is the empowerment of communities – their ownership and control of their own endeavours and destinies. Community development draws on existing human and material resources in the community to enhance self-help and social support, and to develop flexible systems for strengthening public participation in and direction of health matters.

This requires full and continuous access to information, learning opportunities for health, ducation, capacity building , reconstruction and general awareness program

The intent of this Strategic Direction is to recognize the valuable contribution of communities and their role in supporting the adoption of healthy lifestyles at home, at work and in their communities, as well as their participation in identifying community needs and assisting in the development and implementation of relevant health programs and services.

It also reinforces the importance of prevention and health promotion as key strategies to prevent many causes of death and illness in communities.

Health promotion is important for community as it   “ … focuses on achieving equity in health. Health promotion action aims at reducing differences in current health status and ensuring equal opportunities and resources to enable all people to achieve their fullest potential. This includes a secure foundation in a supportive environment,   access to information, life skills and opportunities for making healthy choices. People cannot achieve their fullest health potential unless they are able to take control of those things which determine their health. This must apply equally to women and men” (Ottawa Charter, p. 1)

Community Based Health Care (CBHC) has been demonstrated to be the foundation for the successful delivery of the Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) in Afghanistan; providing a platform for a constructive interaction between the health care system and the communities it serves. Health workers, particularly those who work at the community level, require skills to not only work collaboratively with

Communities but also the tools and skills to effectively integrate health promotion and prevention into their day-to-day work.