Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion

The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion is a 1986 document produced by the World Health Organization. It was launched at the first international conference for health promotion that was held in Ottawa, Canada.

Action areas of the Ottawa Charter

Building healthy public policy – health promotion policy combines diverse but complementary approaches, including legislation, fiscal measures, taxation and organisational change. Health promotion policy requires the identification of obstacles to the adoption of healthy public policies in non-health sectors and the development of ways to remove them.

Creating supportive environments – the protection of the natural and built environments and the conservation of natural resources must be addressed in any health promotion strategy. Work, leisure and living environments should be a source of health for people.

Strengthening community action – community development draws on existing human and material resources to enhance self-help and social support, and to develop flexible systems for strengthening public participation in, and direction of, health matters. This requires full and continuous access to information and learning opportunities for health, as well as funding support.
Developing personal skills through information and education skills – enabling people to learn (throughout life) to prepare themselves for all of its stages and to cope with chronic illness and injuries is essential. This has to be facilitated in school, home, work and community settings.

Re-orientating health care services toward prevention of illness and promotion of health – the role of the health sector must move increasingly in a health promotion direction, beyond its responsibility for providing clinical and curative services. Reorientating health services also requires stronger attention to health research, as well as changes in professional education and training.

Three basic strategies for health promotion are:

Advocate: Health is a resource for social and developmental means, thus the dimensions that affect these factors must be changed to encourage health.

Enable: Health equity must be reached where individuals must become empowered to control the determinants that affect their health, such that they are able reach the highest attainable quality of life.

Mediate: Health promotion cannot be achieved by the health sector alone; rather its success will depend on the collaboration of all sectors of government (social, economic, etc.) as well as independent organizations (media, industry, etc.).

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