Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over their health and the factors that determine health. It is an effective investment in improving health and human development. Long term efforts have been made to promote health and well being among the Afghan populations.
Health promotion is an active process of achieving better health and quality of life, encompassing educational, motivational, economic components. Health promotion includes the process of individual and social change and techniques for social influence which, together with environmental, regulatory and organizational interventions, constitute a broad strategy for better health. In Afghanistan, social structures, social support networks such as family, relatives, tribes and communities strongly affect personal health practices and behaviors. Health promotion is the most effective tool for addressing these social determinants of health.
Health promotion is emphasized in the MoPH Strategic Plan 2011-2015 and National Health and Nutrition Policy 2012-2020 as one of the most important strategic directions of the MoPH
Factors that determine health
Effective health promotion must actively influence the social factors that determine the health of populations and the range of choices available to people. Evidence now shows that most of the global burden of disease and the bulk of health inequalities are caused by the social determinants of health.
In Afghanistan social structure, social support network such as family, relatives and tribes community strongly affect personal health practice and coping skills. Afghans belief and practice of health are fundamentally constructed by Religion (Islam). Islam gives tremendous value to health and healthy behavior and urges Muslims to have healthy behavior. By practicing its laws Muslims all over the world not only attain spirituality but the pinnacle of all other glories and gain the wealth of health. It must be noted that political and economic instability exerts impact to Afghanistan people’ health historically.
Priority Health Issues
In order to identify targeted areas for health promotion, a series of consultations with partners and thorough review of the various policies, strategies and plans of MoPH (e.g. Health and Nutrition Sector Strategy, National Strategic Plan) were conducted. In addition, a national consultative workshop was organized for this purpose. In this workshop, representatives of relevant ministries, donors, UN agencies, INGOs, NGOs and civil society were attended. Based on the recommendations of the workshop, desk review and consultation with partners the following areas were identified as areas of targeted health promotion:
A healthy nation where all individuals and communities are enabled and supported to lead healthier lives through having control over their health and well-being, throughout their life cycle. This vision will contribute to the achievement of the health sector’s common vision of “Health for All Afghans”, as envisioned in the National Health and Nutrition Policy 2012-2020.
Develop a healthy society by enabling communities, facilitating the practical application of health promotion strategies, working with other sectors to formulate healthy public policies, advocating, mobilizing, empowering and supporting different sectors for active participation in health promoting activities which can lead to increased knowledge, informed decision making and positive behavior change in individuals, communities, and societies.
Support individuals, families and communities to actively participate in health promoting activities and adopt healthy behaviors and lifestyle.