First a brief review of public health history:
In November 1986, the World Health Organization organised the First International Conference on Health Promotion, in Ottawa. At this meeting, a Charter for Health Promotion was signed. This international agreement launched a series of actions among international organizations, national governments and local communities to achieve the goal of "Health For All" by the year 2000 and beyond through better health promotion. This Health for All target was already developed in the 70'ies, and recognises that every person on this planet needs and is entitled to the highest possible standard of health.
Three decades following the Ottawa Charter:
New and emerging threats to public health have arisen. So now, in November 2016, the European Public Health Association and the Austrian Public Health Association have set up the Vienna Declaration to emphasize their commitment to the principles of the Ottawa Charter on Health Promotion.
The Vienna Declaration extends and updates the Charter's pre-requisites for health. When I look at them, it appears to me how obvious these requisites sound to someone like me, living in Northern Europe:
- Peace and freedom from fear of violence, including that within communities and families;
- Shelter that provides protection from the elements, a safe indoor environment, and access to basic utilities;
- Education for all, regardless of gender, sexuality and sexual identity, race, ethnicity, religion, and citizenship;
- Affordable, accessible, nutritious and healthy food;
- A living income, coupled with protection from fear of catastrophic expenditure and unaffordable debt;
- A stable, sustainable, and healthy eco-system, as free as possible from pollutants;
- Access to sustainable resources, especially energy sources and clean water;
- Social justice, equity, and empowerment for all, regardless of gender, sexuality and sexual identity, race, ethnicity, religion, and citizenship;
- Systems of local, national, regional, and global governance that are open and transparent, democratically accountable, and represent the interests of all members of their populations;
- Systems that provide high levels of social protection for all;
- Good quality work, with fair employment policies and safe, health-promoting working conditions;
- Optimal early childhood conditions, offering loving, supportive, responsive, nurturing and stimulating environments.
Looking at this from the perspective of global health, it is painfully clear that many of these important pre-requisites for health are absent in a lot of parts of the world.
Organisations and individuals can support the Vienna Declaration, by pledging to:
- develop, use, and improve inclusive, high-quality, transparent and innovative information systems that can inform public health policies;
- advocate for health, working with those whose goals we share, even though they may not yet be engaged in the quest for better health, but challenging those whose words and activities threaten health;
- make visible the health effects of policies in all sectors, holding those in power accountable for their actions in the quest for better health;
- create a motivated, highly qualified workforce who, in their many different roles and sectors, can contribute to improved health for the entire population.
From the perspective of Transmissible, I pledge to fully engage in activities that support and further the Vienna Declaration.
Want to download the declaration? Follow this link.