Community Health Promotion

Community health promotion is of strategic significance in contemporary health systems. The overarching context of this stems from the inability of most countries with mixed health systems to deliver health as a public good; coupled with the emerging role of the market in health and resource constraints at the social sector level, particularly in the developing countries, necessitate a visible role of the communities in health promotion in order to achieve the equity objective in health.



Cervical cancer prevention and control project in Lusaka, Zambia


The incidence of cervical cancer is significantly higher in Eastern Africa than other parts of the world. In an effort to reduce the high incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer, the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) initiated a ‘See and Treat Cervical Cancer Prevention Intervention', which targets both HIV and non-HIV infected female patients who are at high risk of this cancer and who visit the anti-retroviral clinics in Lusaka, Zambia.

Since 2008, the IUHPE has supported a multi-partner programme around the Prevention and Control of Cervical Cancer in Lusaka, Zambia ensuring health promotion and education strategies are developed and applied to address societal changes within the community and increase the uptake of interventions. The project also examines how health promotion and education strategies can enact societal changes within the community and influence health disparities.

As part of this work:


A learning exchange to better understand strategies that work in reducing inequalities


Multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approaches are the cornerstone for collaborative efforts to address non-communicable diseases. In the context of the growing burden of health inequalities globally, where the health gap between the rich and the poor is widening, health promotion interventions carried out in deprived and marginalised communities and focusing on addressing the social determinants of health to reduce health inequalities, are an important strategy to prevent and control non-communicable diseases and promote the health of the seldom heard and seldom served groups.

While there is extensive documentation on the nature of health inequalities, there is an essential need to share and develop a better understanding of strategies for actions that can effectively address the social determinants of health and health inequalities.

To address this need, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE), the Department of Health of England and Health Action Partnership International (HAPI) are working together on a learning exchange initiative between communities in England and the US working to tackle health inequalities. The aim is to learn from such interventions and disseminate findings that help improve initiatives and ensure equity in promoting the health of populations globally.

The key objectives of the learning programme are to:

  • contribute to advancing knowledge around good practice and community health promotion initiatives addressing the social determinants of health that have been successful at reducing health inequalities; and

  • contribute to addressing recommendations of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health through action on the social determinants of health.

A first set of site visits - initial exchange

In November 2011, selected communities from the Communities for Health in England programme, proceeded with a first set of site visits to two selected communities in the US from the US REACH programme with a final debrief in Atlanta.

A second set of site visits - reverse exchange

A reverse set of site visits where selected US REACH communities visited communities in England from the Communities for Health programme took place from June 18th through 25th 2012.

Some key themes that came out of the two sets of site visits - informing reporting on lessons learnt, strategies that work, implications for local, national and global levels and recommendations for practice and policy


  • Political context - key driver for community interventions

  • Community engagement & sustainability

  • Information intelligence (data and use)

  • Collaborative work (working in partnership)

  • Time - an important factor for success

  • Funding & driving paradigm

  • A holistic approach to health & well-being

  • Using community assets to build effective interventions

  • Leadership & need for building capacity for sustained leadership in communities


Next Steps
  • Reporting & Disseminating

  •  Staying connected-capitalising on momentum

  • Influencing policy & practice


Health Promotion approaches to address Non-Communicable Diseases in Africa


The IUHPE, through its Cooperative Agreement with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, continues to support efforts to prevent and control non-communicable diseases in the African region and plays an active role in the Consortium for NCD Prevention and Control in sub-Saharan Africa (CNCD-Africa).