Health Promotion Is Needed in South Africa

Cape Times (South Africa), March 27, 2018 | Go to article overview

Health Promotion Is Needed in South Africa


What is a health promotion and development foundation?

How do we become healthier? Health promotion is an important part of good health.

It focuses on finding ways to promote and support healthy behaviour choices in order to have healthy individuals. Since it is difficult to change health behaviour and make healthy decisions if social, economic and cultural environments do not support healthy choices, we need health promotion to help us address the social determinants of health.

These include inequality, high levels of poverty, low levels of education, issues of gender inequality and poor access to water, safe transport, safe housing, electricity, and recreational facilities. By addressing these issues, people living in South Africa can start to find it easier to make healthier choices.

In South Africa, there is an information and an access gap when it comes to making healthy choices. Inequity is a major issue in South African health as the country is one of the most unequal societies in the world.

Health promotion can address this by reducing important barriers to health by making the healthy choice the easier choice. People can be supported to increase their ability to take control of and improve their own health through government support for health promotion initiatives.

It is very difficult for a country to take money from a health service and treatment service for health promotion and prevention as there are so many sick people already needing treatment. SA spends most of its health budget on treatment and not health promotion and prevention of disease. The country is not alone in the dilemma on how to provide health promotion without taking money away from treatment.

To deal with this, 21 countries have set up special funds for health promotion to fund multi-sectoral health promotion foundations in each of these countries. Many countries have a special tax to support activities in this area. Such funds are often called health promotion funds.

Generally, the funds are generated from an excise tax placed on harmful products - sugar, tobacco and alcohol.

The "sugar tax" that has just been approved is an example of money that will be collected from a tax on a harmful product. …

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