The Importance of Community-Based Strategies
The Importance of Community-Based Strategies
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition that “is not only the absence of illness and disease but the regulation of physiological processes in an optimum way.” A variety of definitions have existed for various purposes over the years. In medicine, health is frequently contrasted with the physical aspect of human well being. While health is important for all of us, there are specific aspects of health that may vary from one person to another and even within a specific culture or society. The term “health” can also be used to refer to quality of life, which is more holistic in its definition.
Two general approaches to assessing health are personal criteria and institutional criteria. Personal criteria include the measures of internal values that one believes to be important in the attainment of good health. The primary definition of health is actually a combination of these two. Societal conditions, public policies, and overall health practices are all incorporated into the definition. These aspects are then correlated with various aspects of health.
Community health promotion is an approach that considers health inequities as part of the community’s responsibility to protect and improve health. Community health equity refers to differences in health and healthcare outcomes between groups of people within a community. Community health equity occurs when there is a disparity in health in the context of age, gender, racial/ethnic background, socioeconomic status, etc. One might suppose that there are no differences in health between men and women, or that age is the only factor. This assumption could not be further from the truth.
Health equity can be a major source of worry for those who care for the sick. Health Equity is a concept that was the product of the Chicago School of Public Health’s theory of establishing a reliable sources of research and information about health. The theory was born out of the belief that all humans have similar health needs and that the differences we see among groups of people can be boiled down to differences in how they access health services. Health Equity was born from this premise. This can be considered the planning phase.
In the planning phase of health equity the focus is on identifying healthy communities and designing plans to promote health equity. Community health promotion involves analyzing health disparities and creating plans that will reduce and eliminate the existing differences in health. Community health promotion takes into account the reality of differences in health, focusing on differences in habits, lifestyles, culture, language, education, work environments and health insurance and medical coverage. It also takes into consideration the fact that differences in health are not always due to disease or illness but are often the result of attitudes and perceptions.
In the planning phase of community health promotion there are 3 basic stages to consider; the identification of a problem, developing a strategy, and engaging and involving the community. The problem is the identified idea or theme that you wish to address and the strategies to implement to achieve your goal. The strategy is a detailed plan to make sure everyone in the community gets involved including family members, professionals, organizations, schools, employers, providers, and residents.
Developing a strategy is done on an ongoing basis as new research findings and health equity issues arise. A strategy is developed by considering the impact of behaviors, environments, social determinants, information and technology and other factors. It includes everything that affects how people live, work and health. There are numerous strategies that have been developed over the years. Some of the more popular include Healthy People, Healthy Schools, Healthy Cities, and CTC Programs.
Engaging the community involves getting the word out that there is a problem and that there are ways to improve the health of all. This is done through events, literature, programs, newsletters, and press releases. An effective communication strategy is used to reach the target audience and gain their involvement to support the overall health care delivery. Community-based strategies have proven to be most effective at improving public health care.