Ottawa Charter Essay

2806 words - 11 pages

Title:

Ottawa Charter

The Ottawa Charter has been a phenomenal influence guiding the development of

the concept of health promotion, and in shaping public health practice in the past

20 years. The world has changed somewhat since 1986 in many ways that could

not have been anticipated by those drafting the Charter. Substantial social and

economic changes have occurred, and continue to occur. These include the

globalization of trade, the invention and development of the internet and mobile

communications, as well as the emergence of new threats to health such as HIV/

AIDS. Such profound changes require adaptations to established health

promotion strategies and the development of new strategies. This paper considers

the origins, describes changes and suggests adaptations to the five strategies of the

Ottawa Charter - build healthy public policy; create supportive environments for

health; strengthen community actions; develop personal skills; and reorient health

services - that now routinely provide the framework for consideration of any

major public health challenge.

Keywords:

health promotion; Ottawa Charter; World Health Organization

Background

In November 2007 the highly influential journal

Nature�published a paper on�Grand

challenges in chronic non-communicable diseases

(Daar�et al. 2007) listing the top 20 policy

and research priorities for conditions such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease. These

challenges were grouped under six sub-headings that included enhancing economic, legal

and environmental policies; reorienting health systems; mitigating the health impacts of

poverty and urbanization; and engaging business and the community. These strategies

appeared alongside more predictable calls to modify risk factors and raise public

awareness. Twenty years ago such a structure for this paper would have been

unimaginable. This is not simply because the science underpinning our understanding of

non-communicable disease has advanced so significantly during this time; it has not. It is

because there has been a paradigm shift in the way in which public health problems are

conceptualized and addressed. For many, the Ottawa Charter

1�is the catalyst for thi

an act of neglect on the part of the authors, or may simply be a product of the pervasive

influence of the Charter and the compelling logic of its key strategies. These five

strategies - build healthy public policy; create supportive environments for health;

strengthen community actions; develop personal skills; and reorient health services - now,

almost incidentally, routinely provide the framework for consideration of any major

public health challenge.

In this sense, the Charter has been a phenomenal influence guiding the development of

the concept of health promotion, and in shaping public health practice in the past 20 years.

The magnitude of the impact belies the fact that the Ottawa Charter was...

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