Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of full physical, mental and social health and not just the absence of sickness and disease. A variety of other definitions have also been used over the years. In the United States, Health is usually defined as being a condition of good health worthy of the best care available. It is also necessary for individuals to participate in community activities and attend to their personal health needs. Having “good health” is important in the society as it contributes to economic well-being, reduces risks for life-threatening diseases, and facilitates people to have quality and leisure life.
Equity refers to differences in resources between groups that may potentially have different characteristics and roles in the community or society at large. The goal of public health is to eliminate health disparities through strategies and action. Health Equity theory considers that there are multiple ways to look at health: through individual and family well-being, through community well-being, through social processes and policies, and through structural barriers to health. Equity is rooted in the belief that all people should have access to quality health care and medical attention regardless of income, social status, and cultural background.
Managing disease process from early in life to late in life requires a multifaceted approach that addresses multiple aspects of health. A multidisciplinary approach is necessary to evaluate current practices and to identify emerging needs and improvements. Public health practice has to be shaped by keeping in mind the perspectives of different groups, such as people of color, girls, rural, poor, and urban populations. It is necessary to consider health disparity issues as they arise and address them as they arise. This includes addressing differences in physical, mental, and social well-being, dealing with the consequences of past health decisions, developing community awareness of health risks and protecting the vulnerable, and preventing disease before it becomes a major problem.
Prevention, early detection, and treatment of diseases, especially those that impact the rights of people living in poverty are crucial for the maintenance of good health. Community based programs that address these issues can make a real difference in the lives of people. However, the effects of the same may be limited if there are significant and profound disparities in access to quality health services. For instance, if health disparity occurs at the community’s own level of development, the solutions might be more diffuse, resulting in lesser impact on community members.
Community-based interventions can be made at the neighborhood, regional, national, or global levels. They can include a range of activities, ranging from providing community-based programs and activities to implementing strategies and action plans focused on health equity. It is necessary to consider all social determinants of health when developing an integrated strategy to promote good health. Different interventions can target different groups. Community organizations, NGOs, public health experts, government agencies, universities, vocational schools, and private organizations can become partners in health promotion activity.
The planning phase of health promotion involves identifying and addressing existing and future health disparities. It also involves defining what gaps are, how to fill them, what causes them, and how to eliminate them. Action plans are then developed based on the identified needs of the community. At this stage, the focus is on implementation of the program. Health promotion partnerships can be used to provide technical support as well as financial resources.