Health promotion

Health promotion

By its very nature, health promotion as defined by the 1986 Ottawa Charter, is a bottom-up approach characterised by participatory approaches to enable community action for health and facilitate community-health system partnerships. In spite of the supportive policy environment, in practice much of what has been termed “health promotion” in Tanzania has been approached more as “health education”.
In order to embed a sustainable mechanism within the region, the Health Promotion component focusses on strengthening the engagement and capacities of existing government staff health and community development systems in cutting-edge, participatory health promotion techniques. Government Health Officers and Assistants, as well as Community Development Officers and Assistants who are responsible for health promotion, are equipped with theory, methods, tools and guidance manuals that support them to effectively facilitate communities to identify their health priorities and plan and implement solutions through community actions. As well as supporting communities, they also roll-out the HPSS-designed training on participatory health promotion techniques to community and non-government organisations.

  • Health Promotion 1
This approach was designed to strengthen capacities in a sustainable way, to raise community and individual awareness of pertinent health issues and enhance knowledge improving health such as preventing illness and seeking timely and appropriate health assistance.

The HPSS approach also recognises the importance of young people in community health promotion and their key role as change agents. To capitalise on this, the project convened a workshop in 2012 to develop with local partners the Dodoma Region School Health Promotion Plan. HPSS has also rolled out a training package for school health teachers and school health coordinators, which integrated training on age-appropriate sexuality education using the UNESCO International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education, to address Tanzania’s high teenage pregnancy rate as well as to prevent HIV transmission and sexually transmitted infections.

 

Systems Thinking for Health Promotion

As the Health Systems Strengthening component of the HPSS project improves the “supply” of quality services, the Health Promotion component concurrently empowers individuals, families groups and communities to take greater responsibility for their health. This is associated with more timely seeking of skilled health services, thereby raising the “demand” for appropriate services and ultimately health outcomes.

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With the progress of the health financing component of the HPSS, it is expected that more financial resources  will be available hence improved access to appropriate health care. Health promotion forms an essential element of the project in encouraging people to make best use of available services to appropriately meet their needs. No matter how high the quality of services, if communities do not experience ownership and the right to use them, the services will not optimally contribute to improved health.
The health promotion component is designed to achieve the following outcome:

  • Communities of Dodoma region are aware of their health needs and are taking actions to improve their health status and are able to influence district planning for health promotion activities.

 

Regional Health Promotion Strategy

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At the outset of the project Tanzania lacked a national health promotion strategy, so to provide a framework to strengthen health promotion in Dodoma Region, the project worked with regional and national stakeholders to develop a regional strategy. In line with the Ottawa Charter, this incorporates the five main areas of action (Build Healthy Public Policy; Create Supportive Environments; Strengthen Community Actions; Develop Personal Skills; Reorient Health Services).
This process was not only well received by regional actors, but has gained interest at the national level and the project has contributed to the national health promotion strategy development process.