The cooperation of the entire local community is needed to strengthen the health of individual persons and the community as a whole. It therefore makes sense to promote the competences and skills of every stakeholder that can in any way contribute to creating a supportive environment for achieving the set health-related objectives. The new approaches to care are removing barriers between sectors and encouraging inter-professional and inter-sectoral coordination of activities to reduce inequality and promote health.
A local health promotion group ensures:
- the timely and relevant identification of the population’s health needs and response thereto,
- cooperation among organisations in support of preventive care programmes that facilitate achievement of better results with the same resources,
- fast, accurate and complete information exchange among partners,
- the development of effective and comprehensive solutions for achieving objectives related to the health of individuals and communities, and
- continuous training and the acquisition of new skills and exchange of experience among professionals.
Members of local health promotion groups
Normally, the members of a local health promotion group are the representatives of the municipality, institutions in the health and social sectors (primary health care centres and other healthcare providers, the regional units of the National Institute of Public Health, the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia, social work centres, the regional offices of the Employment Service of Slovenia/labour offices), educational institutions and various non-governmental organisations (societies, associations and similar).
Advantages of the community approach to health promotion and reduction of health inequality
The key objective of the formation of a local health promotion group is to promote collective awareness in relation to health. The uniform operation of institutions in the community supports individuals who wish to live in a healthy environment in caring for their own health. This approach to care allows rapid identification of the population’s needs and a rapid response to them, and the development of suitable community-adapted preventive care programmes to deal with the health conditions that have developed. By allowing the options of formal and informal types of support for individuals and groups, it develops a support network and self-help groups. This approach requires the partners in the local environment to overcome obstacles and develop competences, skills and pathways for implementing measures beyond the usual institutional forms of operation in a coordinated and collective manner. Partners in the community approach set common objectives and plan and implement measures concerning prevention, health promotion and the reduction of health inequality.
Strategy and action plan to support the strengthening of individual and group health
The most important task of a local group for health promotion and reduction of health inequality is to develop a strategy and action plan for supporting the strengthening of the health of individuals and groups. Appopriate and high-quality information is needed to achieve the objective of an integrated health education policy for a local community. Information catalogues have been developed to direct persons to available programmes for supporting health promotion and maintenance.