The Health Promotion Branch

It is with great pleasure that I introduce this new National Health Promotion Policy for Papua New Guinea, which the government has approved for implementation.  This is the first time Papua New Guinea has had a comprehensive national policy on health promotion.

‘Health Promotion’ is defined as the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve their health.  Best practice in health promotion is outlined in the Ottawa Charter, the Jakarta Declaration and the Healthy Islands Framework Action Plan which state that the overall aim of health promotion is to improve the health of the population and reduce the differences in health status in a systematic way that is effective, equitable and sustainable.  This includes reducing the negative impacts on health, increasing the options for healthy choices, and processes that enable people and communities to increase control over and improve their health.  This policy is based on internationally accepted best practice in health promotion.

With its focus on health and not merely the absence of disease, health promotion increases not only quantity but also quality of life.  Particularly in developing countries, health promotion is recognized as key to improving population health status.  Health Promotion is a cornerstone of the National Health Plan 2020 – 2050 vision and is listed as the first priority in the Plan.

A broad range of factors influence health status and to address these, a diverse combination of strategies is required, involving a broad range of people from different sectors.  It is critical in health promotion to form partnerships and work collaboratively to achieve health gains for communities.  Health promotion is everyone’s business and should be part of how an organization goes about its work.  It cannot be left to a select few who heave health promotion in their job title.  Health promotion should be an integral part of any health sector and other organisation’s business and health promotion principles should be reflected in all polices, procedures and activities.

This policy is intended to guide health promotion throughout Papua New Guinea. It is anticipated that not only government but also the many partners who are involved in health promotion will uphold the principles outlined in this policy. This includes both government and non-government sectors at national, provincial, district and community levels.  The policy provides goals, and guidelines for coordinated action across institutional systems in Papua New Guinea.  I hope that the future plans of all government departments, non-government organizations and the private sector will reflect the strategies outlined in this policy and that in so doing, together we can create a healthier PNG.