|Health Promotion and Protection|
Recognizing the relevance of health promotion as an approach by which Caribbean people could realize success in coping with major health problems, The Ministers responsible for health in the Caribbean, at their 13th Meeting, held in 1992 called for the development of a Caribbean Charter for Health Promotion. This was in keeping with the international movement in health promotion, renewed in 1986 through the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion.
The Caribbean Charter for Health Promotion was adopted at the First Caribbean Conference on Health Promotion, held in Trinidad in 1993. It defines six main strategies to guide actions in health promotion: healthy public policy; re-orienting health systems; empowering communities; creating supportive environments; developing personal health skills and building alliances with special emphasis on the media.
Since adopting the Charter, all countries have incorporated these strategies into their national health planning. Additionally, the Pan American Health Organization has played a significant role in furthering the understanding of health promotion by facilitating national consultations on health promotion. Another strength has been the adoption of health promotion as a cross-cutting strategy for the implementation of the Caribbean Cooperation in Health Initiative, now in its third phase.
Despite these achievements, the application of health promotion in the region has been affected by some significant factors. Health promotion has been organized in a way that is fragmented based on various progrmme areas, such as HIV or CNCDs. Funding is often allocated for projects or campaigns, which affects the sustainability of health promotion in the long term and there is a lack of a consistent stream of reliable data to support public policy making this is based on evidence.
In addition, there is a need for increasing the Ministry of Health leadership in advocating for health promotion and a need to get health promotion more on the national policy agenda for consideration and decision making at the political level. Some confusion still exist in the understanding the concept of health promotion as an approach for planning, including its transformative potential.
Since 2001 significant opportunities have existed for repositioning health promotion as a framework for planning and for elevating the Caribbean Charter for Health Promotion to a prominent place as a tool for planning in health. The Nassau Declaration, issued by the CARICOM Heads of Government at their meeting in 2001 squarely positions health at the centre of development in the region and called for reorienting and restructuring health services to achieve this. Again at their meeting in 2003, the Heads of Government made a commitment to “promote the health and wellbeing of the people of the CARICOM Community”, indicating an acceptance of the need for collective action to improve the health of the people of the region.
Further support for repositioning health promotion was recommended by the Caribbean Commission on Health and Development, which pointed out that “the most important challenge demanding policy change is the health situation that results from the demographic and epidemiological trends, recommended a variety of policy approaches to be applied to address the social determinants health, called for a broader application of health promotion strategies. This call was reinforced by the landmark Port of Spain Declaration issued by the Heads of Government of CARICOM at their landmark Summit to discuss the effects of CNCDs on the social and economic development of the Region. The Declaration calls on Member States to address a number of key commitments including diet, physical activity and tobacco control in order to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of the Caribbean region.
The Health Promotion & Protection Strategies focus on:
To support the Caribbean sub-region in achieving the objectives of its health agenda and contribute to global and regional public health action through strengthening the capacity of the Caribbean Region in design, implementation, and evaluation of Health Promotion and Protection strategies, in line with the social determinants and objectives and priorities of the Caribbean countries, and to contribute to the achievement of the MDGs.
1. Training to strengthen institutional capacity and human resources:
2. Design, implement, and evaluate subregional public health policies for the creation of sustainable healthy settings
3. Development of partnerships and alliances in Health Promotion and Protection
4. Intersectoral agreements and collaboration
5. Evidence of the effectiveness of the process and methodologies of Health Promotion & Protection strategies
V. Key words: Health Promotion, Health Education, access, quality education, Health literacy. Health-Promoting Schools, Healthy Settings, Healthy Municipalities
Denise Carter Taylor, M.A.
Advisor on Health Promotion & NCDs
OCPC – PAHO
246 426-3869, Extension 5030