According to Wikipedia,”Community health is a major field of study within the medical and clinical sciences which focuses on the maintenance, protection and improvement of the health status of the population groups and communities”.
The World Health Organisation, WHO defines community health as,”Environmental, social and economic resources to sustain emotional and physical well being among people in ways that advance their aspirations and satisfy their need in their unique environment”.
Community health can best be understood by taking cognizance of all the elements that make up the community, including immaterial things that are not quantifiable. Some of the questions that come to mind when thinking about community health are; how save is the environment of the community? Can the people interact freely with each other? Is there cohesion and unity in project delivery? How many projects have been successfully completed? What is there source of livelihood, what are the people really doing to live on? What is the quality of their water as well as the source of their drinking water? What is the level of education of majority of the community dwellers? How ease is doing business? Is there health facility in the community? How accessible, affordable, equip is the health facility? Are there health personnel readily available at the facility? How is the state of the roads in the community? How accommodating are the living houses? Any power or electricity in the community? and many other questions that apply to human activities and living conditions.
A typical modern community has transcended the old view of historical and traditional values community held so dearly. Objectively, looking at communities that are healthy, represented on the picture above, reveals that the community dweller and stakeholders consciously address the above questions and ensure that the standard of living of majority of the community dwellers is raised to an acceptable minimum standard. They address the factors that pose threat to the physical health of the individuals through policy making as well as executing meaningful project that contribute to the life of people.
For example, a community with an epidermic of cholera is traceable to a common source of contaminated water. The source of water use for domestic activities like cooking, drinking are contaminated by faecal material defecated into the water body. If that community has good toilet facilities or better sewage disposal system, the faeces wouldn’t find its way into the water bodies. Better still if they have quality source of drinking water, they wouldn’t be drinking contaminated water.
However, community health shouldn’t be a concern of few individuals probably those in health industry, rather it calls for everyone within the community. To achieve community health every individual in the community must be healthy in all ramifications first, but this can not be achieve without collaborations within sectors, and active participation by all members of the community.
You should ask yourself what contribution have you made toward the health and development of your community. That is the way forward. We shall continue with this discussion in the next article.