Health advocacy

Advocacy is one strategy to raise levels of familiarity with an issue and promote health and access to quality health care and public health services at the individual and community levels. When trying to gain political commitment, policy support, social acceptance and systems support for a particular public health goal or programme, a combination of individual and social actions may be used to try to affect change. This is one way of understanding Health Advocacy.

The adoption of a health advocacy model can focus on an educational dimension when it identifies emerging public health issues that require action. It encompasses gathering information on existing practice related to public health,  related legislation monitoring and providing feedback on how specific regulations impact local groups and communities. It may also help guiding health policy reforms.

Often, health advocacy is carried out using mass and multi-media, direct political lobbying and community mobilization. It may materialize within an institution or through public health associations, patients’ organisations, private sector and NGOs. All health professionals have a major responsibility to act as advocates for public health at all levels in society.