Healthcare professionals as well as consumers of healthcare services currently emphasize health promotion and disease prevention (HPDP) activities which are designed to help client to reduce the risks of disease and maintain optimal health. Health promotion is the process of empowering people to make healthy lifestyle choices and motivating them to become better self-managers. Health promotion strategies focus on patient education, counselling, physical activity, to improve nutrition or reduce the use of substances and drugs. Equally, disease prevention focuses on prevention strategies that reduce the risk of disease, identify risk factors, or detect disease in its early, most treatable stages. HPDP are proactive approaches to healthcare that stress on prevention at different points along the healthcare continuum. Health promotion and disease prevention strategies focus on keeping people well and forestalling the occurrence of diseases.
Reducing morbidity and mortality through HPDP measures has gained momentum globally. It is significantly essential to healthcare systems to ensure safer, more patient-centred and efficient care, and to support audit, quality improvement initiatives, public health, health service planning and research.
A wide range of economic, cultural, behaviuoral, political, demographic and biological factors create disease vulnerability in Sub-Saharan Africa, fuelled by these forces, communicable diseases ravage the continent. Many African countries are undergoing civil and public service reforms as well as health sector reforms. Most of these involve restructuring of the sector and the creation of new systems, procedures, and functions that are expected to promote efficiency in healthcare delivery. A growing necessity for evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion has been expressed from many sources. . In recent years, focus has been directed in earnest towards the type and quality of the knowledge that provides the basis for preventive and health promoting interventions in African nations.
The successful health promotion and disease prevention characteristics include:
• Address defined, measurable and modifiable risk factors
• Involve proactive care, targeting programs and services to “well” individuals and communities
• Use multiple strategies based on best evidence and accepted clinical practice guidelines
• Encourage integrated and collaborative service delivery
• Empower patients and communities to take greater responsibility for their health issues.