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OPINION:Deploying health promotion officers for citizens’ well-being

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By Tashikalmah Hallah

The National Council on Health (NCH), at its   64th meeting in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, made a significant decision to establish an annual commemorative day for Health Promotion in Nigeria. This decision reflects the government’s commitment to raising awareness about health issues and promoting the well-being of its citizens. With an increasing emphasis on preventive healthcare and wellness, health promotion officers are expected to play crucial roles in promoting healthy behaviours as well as improving overall well-being.

The communique of the NCH 64th Meeting is aimed at commemorating “the Health Promotion Day in Nigeria to promote preventive healthcare and raise awareness about healthy lifestyles among the populace which includes collaboration with relevant stakeholders, advocating for policy changes, allocating resources, and establishing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms at all levels”. 

Establishing a yearly commemorative day for health promotion is an important step towards addressing public health challenges in Nigeria. It allows for a dedicated day where individuals, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and other stakeholders can come together to promote healthy lifestyles, educate the public about prevailing health issues, and advocate for policies and actions that improve the overall health of Nigerians.

The specific date for the commemorative day is yet to be determined. Still, it is expected to provide a platform for various activities aimed at promoting health and well-being nationwide. These activities may include health fairs, workshops, seminars, awareness campaigns, and community outreach programs. By actively engaging the public and fostering a culture of health consciousness, this initiative has the potential to positively impact the health outcomes for Nigerians.

Furthermore, the yearly commemorative day for Health Promotion also serves as a reminder to individuals to prioritize their health and take necessary steps towards leading healthier lives. It will also encourage individuals to adopt proactive measures such as regular exercise, healthy eating, preventive screenings, and proper hygiene practices.

The NCH’s decision demonstrates the Nigerian government’s determination to address health challenges and improve the overall well-being of its people. By promoting health promotion efforts on a national scale, Nigeria is taking significant strides towards achieving better health outcomes and building a healthier nation. Previously, the role of health promotion officers may have been overlooked or undervalued, however, with the rising cost of healthcare and the recognition of the importance of prevention, their roles have gained prominence in recent years.

Health promotion officers are responsible for developing and implementing programmes and initiatives for healthy lifestyle advocacy to prevent diseases. They work with individuals, communities, and organizations to identify health concerns, assess needs, and develop strategies to address them. These officers play vital roles in educating the public about healthy eating, physical activity, smoking cessation, and other behaviours that contribute to well-being. They also collaborate with schools, workplaces, and healthcare providers to create environments that support healthy choices and behaviours.

The demand for health promotion officers is expected to continue to rise as more organizations, including healthcare systems, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, recognize the importance of prevention in reducing healthcare costs and improving outcomes. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the need for health promotion officers. They have been instrumental in promoting public health measures, such as hand hygiene, mask-wearing, and social distancing, to prevent the spread of the virus.

In conclusion, the engagement of health promotion officers to advance the well-being of citizens is not only capable of providing relief for Nigerians, but it is also capable of cutting down the cost of healthcare by ensuring the prevention of diseases. With an increasing focus on preventive healthcare and the importance of healthy behaviours, the expertise of these health promotion officers can go a long way in promoting wellness and improving the overall status of the Nigerian public health system.

SA/Media & External Relation to the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social WelfareFederal Secretariat,Federal Secretariat,Abuja

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