CEDCOW will work with partners and local organisations to create and maintain enabling environments and conditions which promote healthy living and well-being of the people through the development of health infrastructure, strategies and policies, advocacy, partnerships, and social and resource mobilization in order to address health needs of disadvantaged people and enhance sustainable development. Health promotion has emerged as a viable approach and a tool for comprehensive and equitable development. The shift of focus from health education to health promotion was catalyzed by the Ottawa Conference and sustained by the outcomes of the subsequent international conferences on health promotion. The four policy orientations of the Ninth GPW, namely, integrating health and human development in public policies, ensuring equitable access to health services, promoting and protecting health and preventing and controlling specific health problems, further strengthened the focus and expected outcomes of health promotion.
Presently access to health services is strongly being considered a human right .CEDCOW recognises that health services and access is far disproportional in developing country in favour of the rich and those in position of authority and power while women, children and the poor are unable to afford health cost or denied access. There is need concerted efforts to integrate health promotion activities across sectors in order to close the gaps.
Furthermore, countries need to develop policies and strategies that advocate for health promotion to be a part of the public health development agenda. There is need to establish functional partnerships, strong networks and alliances for promoting health that include private and public sectors, and civil society groups other than those traditionally engaged in health in order to build a critical mass for health promotion in various settings.
Health, poverty and inequality
Despite incredible improvements in health in some African countries, there are still a number of challenges, which should have been easy to solve. Consider the following: One billion people lack access to health care systems , Over 8 million children under the age of 5 die from malnutrition and mostly preventable diseases, each year, tuberculosis kills 1.3 million people each years with 9.4 new cases a year.1.6 million people still die from pneumococcal disease each year making it the number one vaccine preventable cause of death worldwide. Malaria causes some 243 million acute illnesses and 863,000 deaths, annually. These and other diseases kill more people each year than conflict alone. Why has it got to such a level when the world has enough wealth to help address most of these problems, or at least alleviate more of the suffering is a question which ponders all of us. The World Health Organization (WHO) and others repeatedly point out that many of these diseases are “diseases of poverty.”However, some diseases are now not only the result of poverty, but have been contributing to poverty—a nasty feedback loop. In the case of malaria, for instance, the WHO notes that, Malaria has significant measurable direct and indirect costs, and has recently been shown to be a major constraint to economic development.… Annual economic growth in countries with high malaria transmission has historically been lower than in countries without malaria. Economists believe that malaria is responsible for a “growth penalty” of up to 1.3% per year in some African countries. The indirect costs of malaria include lost productivity or income associated with illness or death. Malaria has a greater impact on Africa’s human resources than simple lost earnings WHO noted. Although difficult to express in dollar terms, another indirect cost of malaria is the human pain and suffering caused by the disease. Malaria also hampers children’s schooling and social development through both absenteeism and permanent neurological and other damage associated with severe episodes of the disease.
The simple presence of malaria in a community or country also hampers individual and national prosperity due to its influence on social and economic decisions. The risk of contracting malaria in endemic areas can deter investment, both internal and external and affect individual and household decision making in many ways that have a negative impact on economic productivity and growth.
In both UK and Africa, CEDCOW will work with partners and relevant institutions to promote following health and development strategies:
Social mobilization and strengthening advocacy activities aimed at obtaining political commitment and creating a supportive environment for the implementation of a wide range of Health Promotion interventions. Eg Malaria, TB, Polio and HIV/AIDS
Forging sustainable and functional partnerships revolving around priority health programmes and health development issues at both national and international levels eg Female Genital Mutilation
Address emerging issues as well as controversial and sensitive issues in a manner that respects the Rights of the individual and/or community including cultural beliefs and values. Eg Female Genital Mutilation
Strengthen the existing training and capacity building institutions in the Region involved in health promotion. Eg Training and capacity building for Local health NGOs, setting up community or village health committees, and training community health actors or activist
Resource mobilization of both technical and financial resources shall be actively explored through intensified advocacy, networking and multi-sectoral collaboration.
Promote interventions that seek to reach individuals, young and old, men and women, with health promotion services in places where they make daily decisions in order to assist them in making informed choices regarding health and welfare.
Develop health promotion communication strategies that promote and support dialogue, culture and gender sensitivity, and the full participation of intended beneficiaries in all health matters.
Lastly, we shall work with partners, health agencies and relevant bodies to develop a structured mechanism for planning, monitoring, evaluation, documentation and dissemination shall be an integral part of all health promotion activities at country and regional level.