UNESCO Chair Global Health and Education Health Education, Prevention, Health Promotion, Children and Young People

COVID-19 and Community Action: Importance of Health Promotion

By: Centre for Health Education and Health Promotion of the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Many protective and preventive measures against respiratory infection including COVID-19 such as wearing face masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing are effective interventions to slow down the epidemics. This is particularly important when there is no definite medical treatment or preventive vaccination. Effective implementation of protective and preventive measures requires appropriate risk perception of the public as it predicts protective behaviours. In high-income countries and countries with rapid economic development, they are concerned with measures that would have impact on commercial activities and economic growth directly and indirectly. This reflects the health literacy of those countries not developing in parallel with economic development.  They do not understand the importance of socio-economic determinants of health to develop effective health promotion in coping with emerging public health challenges. For low income countries, many protective and preventive measures would have impact on their daily living including supply of essential products and access to essential services. This reflects lack of capacity building and empowerment of the population to enhance their health. The lack of infra-structure for community health makes the population more vulnerable in crisis situations.

COVID-19 provides us an opportunity to reflect our community action for health improvement. Health promotion in different settings, primary healthcare, school, workplace and municipalities, all have their key roles to support the local community to face the public health challenges. We must not forget the role of health promotion in maintaining the health and well-being of the population as the affected cases and their family members require not just acute care management. Moreover, the acute medical setting would have catered small fraction of the population. The community still has a lot to do to help during pandemic situation. The “COVID-19 and Community Action” by Centre for Health Education and Health Promotion of the Chinese University of Hong Kong serves as practical action guides to manage health of the community using concepts of health promotion applying the healthy setting approach in primary healthcare, school, municipalities, and workplace settings. Just click on http://www.chep.cuhk.edu.hk/covid19 for access.

Please contact the Centre if you have any comments and questions (Email: chep@cuhk.edu.hk).

Stay safe and healthy!