The Ottawa Charter.
Dumb-developing personal skillsCharter-creating supportive environmentsSucks-strengthening community actionReally-reorienting health servicesBad-building healthy public policy.
In order for individuals to achieve good health, they must develop the personal skills and abilities, so they can make the positive behaviour changes to meet the demands of everyday life. Individuals need to refine and modify poor health behaviours to improve their health. Providing individuals with information, education and life skills enables them to exert control over their actions and increases the options available to them. Enabling or empowering people to develop skills that will assist them in preventing or treating disease
or illness, is a positive step towards individuals achieving good health.
Developing personal skills such as decision making, problem solving, self-awareness, critiquing information, planning for change, developing time-management skills, and refining communication and assertiveness skills will assist individuals to make positive health decisions.
This action area focuses on the places where people live, work and play. It also focuses on increasing people's ability within these settings to make health-promoting choices. It is concerned with our social and physical environments. We need to take care of, protect and support each other, our community and our natural and built environments from threats to health. The organisation of work and leisure and the use of technology should enhance health and provide a safe, stimulating, satisfying and enjoyable environment. Workplaces, support groups, health services, schools, the media and families can all help to provide supportive environments.
When communities join to take action for their health, we can see positive
improvements. Communities who make decisions, plan strategies and
implement them to improve health for their population generally see
improved health benefits. When communities take ownership of the health
issues they face and advocate for change, they are more likely to embrace
these changes. Empowering communities to take control of their needs and
decide how they can best work towards meeting these needs is essential for
positive health behaviour change. In order for communities to take action,
forming partnerships with health agencies or government or non-government
agencies can assist them to implement strategies, access and gain information,
and create opportunities to improve their community’s health.
The focus and delivery of health services has moved away from an emphasis on the more traditional aspects of health: diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. The reorientation of health services has focused on the well-being of the whole person: promoting health, preventing ill health and supporting well-being. This requires a change in attitude and the organisation of health services, and changes to professional education, training and research.
Health promotion can take place in a number of settings, such as schools, workplaces and community health centres, as well as through NGOs, such as the National Heart Foundation of Australia and the Cancer Council.
Case study: alcohol
abuse in society
Alcohol-related issues are prevalent in society and increasing at an alarming rate. Issues such as binge drinking, underage drinking, alcohol-related violence and
drink driving have a significant impact not only on the
individual consuming the alcohol, but also on society in
general. In order to address this health issue, various
government and non-government organisations and communities have put strategies in place. As this issue is
not in isolation, the use of the Ottawa Charter
Framework for Health Promotion has been the backbone in assisting different sectors to work collaboratively with individuals to bring about positive changes in
health behaviour. To see how the Ottawa Charter can be used to combat alcohol abuse in Australia, a variety of strategies that have been used across a number of health promotion programs, are applied here to the five action areas of the Ottawa Charter.
Developing personal skills- Alcohol Abuse
• Compulsory PDHPE lessons that focus on the short and long-term effects of alcohol on the body.
• Healthy Harold vans which visit primary schools to educate young children about the effects of alcohol.
• Education through schools’ pastoral care programs on how to party safely if alcohol is available or how to enjoy yourself at a party without alcohol.
• Information in magazines such as Woman’s Day and Men’s Health about the impact alcohol can have on the body.
• Information in newsletters and university magazines on safe drinking levels for alcohol.
• Having students practise role-play scenarios similar to those young people might face around alcohol, so they can practise their problem solving, communication and assertiveness skills.
• Knowing how and where to access reputable information relating to alcohol. For example, internet sites such as the Australian Drug Foundation or local community health centres.
• Undertaking a first-aid course to develop skills to assist people with alcohol-related injuries.
• Creating posters, postcards, coasters, stickers and wallet cards to educate people on the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.
Creating supportive environments- Alcohol Abuse
• Workplaces providing non-alcoholic drinks for after-work drinks.
• Creating alcohol-free workplaces.
• Companies providing counselling services for employees who are directly or indirectly affected by alcohol-related issues.
• Parents supervising teenage parties if there is alcohol.
• Parents modelling responsible drinking in front of their children.
• Cooperation between police and festival organisers to screen and check people’s bags for alcohol at youth festivals such as V Festival or Good Vibrations.
• Fundraising for charities linked with alcohol issues, such as domestic violence charities.
• Pubs and clubs changing cups made of glass to plastic cups and enforcing the responsible service of alcohol.
• Bouncers at pubs, clubs and parties making sure people behave responsibly around alcohol.
Strengthening community action- Alcohol Abuse
• Supporting Alcoholics Anonymous groups.
• Providing support groups for families who have lost loved ones to alcohol-related issues such as domestic violence and road accidents.
• Police offering and supervising Blue Light events, such as hosting alcohol-free dances for young people.
• Pubs and clubs having a ‘2 am lock out’ policy to prevent drunken people from entering the premises.
• Pubs and clubs offering free bus services to take patrons home.
• Offering support groups for victims of sexual assault, which may be fuelled by alcohol abuse.
• Church communities offering food and shelter to victims of alcohol-related crimes.
• Local community activities to engage young people to be active citizens and prevent boredom issues leading to the consumption of alcohol.
• Communities providing statistics to support the submission for alcohol reforms to the local government in their area.
Reorienting health services-alcohol abuse
• Increased funding for health promotion initiatives to target underage and binge drinking.
• Registering parties with police to prevent gate crashers.
• Wheelchair basketball guest speakers to talk about injury prevention relating to alcohol.
• NRMA Road Trauma Forums for young people to prevent drink driving.
• Increased funding for health promotion programs relating to alcohol, particularly for young people.
• The Police Citizens Youth Clubs (PCYC) offering activities at night to remove boredom for young people.
• Seminars run by Rotary on harm minimisation for adolescents and parents.
• Free water handed out at youth festivals such as the V Festival and Good Vibrations.
Access to good health should be available to all individuals. While most
people generally have good health, the gap is widening in many areas of the
Australian population. Health inequalities that exist have significant negative
health impacts. Marginalised groups such as those with low socioeconomic
status, Indigenous Australians, people living in rural and remote areas,
people from non-English speaking backgrounds and older people, generally
face poorer levels of health. Health inequalities are usually the result of an
individual being in a disadvantaged social position; of inability to access
information, services and resources; overexposure to various risk factors
such as fast-food outlets and poor living conditions; lack of control over
their own circumstances and a health care system that may be unaffordable
In order for all individuals to achieve good health, access to health care
services and information must be fairly distributed. Ensuring communities
have the necessary infrastructure to provide quality health care for a free
or low cost and have the ability to seek out health services regardless
of age, gender or ethnicity is essential for individuals to achieve good
health. Individuals have the right to good health, and governments need
to ensure that all individuals have access to the same health care services
and treatments. For example, people living in rural communities should
have access to a dietician just as people living in the city do. As certain
communities have higher health inequities than others, additional resources
may be provided to reduce these health inequities. This could be through
an increase of health services such as counsellors or through building more
infrastructure such as nursing homes or hospitals. This would ensure greater
equity of resources to those communities in greatest need. In order to reduce
inequities, individuals should be able participate in the decision-making
process within their community in relation to health needs. Individuals
should be active participants in their own lives, planning for and making
decisions about their own health.
Australia continues to grow into a diverse nation. From the physical diversity of
the land to the social diversity of its cultures, Australia needs to consider many
factors when addressing various health issues. Ensuring population groups
within society are not discriminated against in terms of age, gender, sexuality or
location is important in achieving good health for individuals. Providing health
information in various languages, placing health services in places easy to
access by public transport, celebrating various cultures and understanding the
different health issues for the various population groups is essential in ensuring
all individuals have the opportunity to achieve good health.
Providing environments where people are supported is essential to achieving good health. Homes, workplaces, schools and communities play a vital role in ensuring all people, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to be valued and make positive contributions to society. When the environment around a person supports positive health habits, it is easier for an individual to make positive choices. Ensuring environments in which people live are conducive and supportive for positive health is crucial for improving the health status of individuals. Celebrating the diversity of a community, empowering individuals and communities to take action on a health issue close to their heart and enabling people to improve environments is essential in achieving good health.