Health promotion is the process of enabling people to improve their health through improving control of modifiable risk factors. Health promotion goes far beyond health care. It increases health awareness for the public and policymakers in all sectors and directs them to be aware of potential health consequences of personal choices.
Health promotion enables people to reach a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. Health is, therefore, seen as a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.
Everyday living requires home and work environments to be safe, stimulating, satisfying and enjoyable. This concept needs to be assisted in school, home, work and community settings. Action is required through educational, professional, commercial and voluntary bodies, and within the institutions themselves.
Inequalities in health are rooted in inequities in society. Millions of people in the African Region are living in extreme poverty and deprivation in an increasingly degraded environment in both urban and rural areas.
Health is both a fundamental human right and a sound social investment. Closing the health gap between socially and educationally disadvantaged people and more advantaged people requires policies that will improve access to health-enhancing goods and services, and create supportive environments.