In the context of rising health care costs and growing emphasis on budgetary containment and evidence based decision-making, there is an increased interest in prevention initiatives. Prevention is thought in many instances to be cost-effective; investing in prevention now will avoid having to pay for more costly acute interventions. Good health and improved quality of life may generate economic growth, with people having more opportunities in life to maximize their educational, labour, and social potentials. The CVPCP Board have agreed to focus their shared resources on prevention work.
What is Prevention/Health Promotion?
Prevention is about focusing efforts on promoting health and preventing disease. It seeks to act on the factors that prevent ill health through carefully planned and implemented initiatives. It is also about maintaining the best health possible through building resilience and developing protective factors. This can occur across the whole healthcare spectrum, from a population-wide level, through to a community level and an individual or clinical level.
Preventive health actions are often categorised in three levels: primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.
Primary prevention aims to limit the incidence of disease and disability in the population. It does this by eliminating or reducing factors that reduce good health and promoting factors that are protective of health. Primary prevention targets whole populations including healthy individuals to address the social determinants of good health.
Secondary prevention aims to prevent the progression of disease. It does this through early detection and/or intervention. Secondary prevention targets individuals who may show no symptoms but are exposed to or have known risk factors for a particular condition.
Tertiary prevention aims to reduce the consequences of established disease. It does this by reducing the progression of the disease and improving the individual’s quality of life. Tertiary prevention targets those individuals with diagnosed illness and disease.
Improving the health and life expectancy of Australians delivers enormous dividends to individuals and to governments in the reduced cost of medical treatments and the extension of a productive, disability-free life for the community.
What is Integrated Health Promotion?
In Victoria, the term ‘integrated health promotion’ refers to agencies in a catchment working in a collaborative manner using a mix of health promotion interventions and capacity building strategies to address priority health and wellbeing issues.
A key deliverable of PCPs is to support agencies to deliver the Integrated Health Promotion program by building effective partnerships, utilising a common planning framework, and engaging a broad range of sectors in effective health promotion.