Health promotion includes a wide range of approaches to improving the health of people, communities and populations by providing them with the tools to make informed decisions about their well-being. Health promotion moves beyond the traditional treatment of illness and injury, and focuses on the social, physical, economic and political factors that affect health. It includes activities such as raising awareness of health issues, healthy living, good nutrition and mental well-being.
Effective health promotion will seek to empower refugees and their communities, so they will be able to find the information they need, access services and become more confident in advocating for themselves and their families. Refugees may need help in understanding the concept of health promotion, the different types of health promotion activity and the roles of particular health promotion practitioners.
The health education needs of refugee communities may be similar to the majority population, but strategies for targeting and delivery may require flexible approaches that are culturally sensitive. Effective health promotion interventions also go beyond understanding cultural issues and recognise the barriers and disadvantages faced by many people from refugee communities. Consultation with the actual users of services can help ensure health professionals understand these barriers.
This area of the website provides information, guidance and case studies of positive practice in health promotion, to refugees and their communities.
Refugees may not be aware of the range of health promotion and education services available. They may also be inhibited in using them - or find that these services either do not or appear not to cater for their needs. Effective health promotion with refugees will seek to promote their access to services and address particular needs.
The skills and experiences of many refugees should be seen as valuable by health sector employers as they seek to develop a more diverse workforce. Refugees have opportunities for achieving their full potential by accessing employment in the health care sector, including career opportunities in health promotion and education.
In the NHS there is a major emphasis on user involvement in health and social care policy and practice. The NHS operating framework for England for 2010/11 sets out the priorities for the NHS for the year ahead to enable them to begin their planning. A stronger local voice sets out the Government's plans for the future of patient and public involvement in health and social care. These plans include the establishment of Local Involvement Networks (LINks) which are made up of individuals and community groups, such as faith groups and residents' associations, working together to improve health and social care services.
By consulting and involving refugees in the design and development of health promotion interventions, practitioners can ensure that health promotion activities are accessible and culturally sensitive. Involving refugees and their communities in this way enables them to have opportunities for contributing to the community.
The South East Migrant Health Network is not responsible for the content of external sites.