What is Health?

The World Health Organization’s defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The World Health Organization assert that physical and mental well-being is a human right, enabling a life without limitation or restriction. Improving and maintaining good health starts with adopting healthy habits and sustainable changes for life.

Social determinants of health

There are many factors that influence health. These factors include our individual genetic and lifestyle choices, places where we are born, where we live, grow, work and our age, all have an influence on health. Social determinants of health are the broad range of personal, social, economic and environmental factors that determine individual and population health. The main determinants of health include:

Non communicable diseases

Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) are facing epidemiological transitions and there is a rising burden of non-communicable diseases. Many diseases, previously only common in high income countries are now increasing in low income countries.

Why is this burden increasing in developing countries?

  • Some of the reasons includes, inadequate health system response to the health problems and the rising life expectancy which adds more pressure on the health systems
  • There is a transition in relation to nutrition and the food systems transformation.
  • The existence of inadequate policies and lack of inter sectoral collaboration in addressing health issues and in targeting unhealthy commodities
  • The growth of urban cities and the changing environment

Health promotion is key to safeguard quality health services. No country in the world will be able to sustain its health system if we continue business as usual. With ageing populations and the rising tide of diseases that need long-term care, no country can afford simply to treat the people who turn up in hospitals and clinics” (WHO Deputy Director, Geneva, 2019).

Areas of focus for Health promotion

The health promotion (HP) concept is based on five areas: