Community health development is the process of helping a community to identify and treat its health issues. This typically includes helping to develop solutions and find resources to handle current problems. Community health development may also involve efforts to develop healthy activities which can serve as a preventative measure against illness. It is in essence a comprehensive effort designed to give a community the tools to ensure long-lasting health among its residents.
Often community health development efforts will include initiatives to make healthy living more accessible to the locals. This can include increasing the affordability, accessibility, and simplicity of using key health services. It may also involve outreach efforts which encourage community members to partake of specific programs or activities.
In addition to addressing immediate health concerns, community health development can include creating strategies for ongoing concerns. This typically involves working on issues that have statistically been a problem. Common problems include obesity and disease that results from poor nutrition.
The goal of community health development is to empower a community to manage its own well-being. This is why providing education and encouragement to adopt healthy habits is as important as facilitating treatment. A community that is well informed about its own health and valuable preventative measures is exponentially more likely to avoid illness.
Community health development is also a way to promote social justice. It is typically geared to improve health in areas where the population has few resources. This type of support is often provided in neighborhoods where there are many other services for people with few resources, such as low-income housing.
Another goal of community health development is to enable the members of the community to not only mange, but control their own well-being. This is primarily because it the community is able to steer the process, it is much more likely to continue to maintain healthy habits. A sense of ownership, in addition to the freedom to find a system that works for a particular community, is an extremely effective way to ensure long-term assimilation.
A strong community health development program can also be influential by exerting subtle social pressure. After building a base of local support, and thus proving itself, an organization providing these services is more likely to attract a high number of participants. This effect can be useful for building support in the short term, before the lasting health benefits of the program have had a chance to develop.