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Community Health

A Haitian boy in Petite Riviere is examined by Magdalena Mauri Gomez, one of more than 500 Cuban health care professionals serving in Haiti

This program operates with the belief that health is attainable, accessible, and sustainable by people for themselves and their communities if they are given the opportunity. Eighty percent of the illnesses that affect populations in poor countries are preventable.

Health is a state of complete well-being-- physical, mental, social, and spiritual-- not merely the absence of illness. The aim of the Comprehensive Community-based Primary Health Care (CCPHC) program is to restore harmony with God, with family, with society, with nature, and with self.

CCPHC empowers people to take charge of their own lives and health, so that sustainable achievement in improving health is possible. CCPHC initiatives support effective community programs of awareness, education, and development of human and economic resources. They also value local cultural practices as a source of preventive and curative health.

Three Principles

These principles serve as the basis for the CCPHC programs:

Equity - The program must reach everyone, including the poorest of the poor.

Integration - Not only must curative and preventive medicine be integrated but medical attention must be integrated with other factors that enhance life and health, such as agriculture, education, and a safe water supply.

Empowerment - Poor people who receive knowledge, information, and models of organizing realize that they have the power to transform their own reality.
With these principles in mind, a CCPHC promoter needs to go to a community with humility, honesty, boldness, and faith. The health promoter must go to the people, live with them, learn with them, love them, begin with what they know, and build with what they already possess. Then they will be able to say: "We achieved it and we'll work hard to sustain it and improve it."

The guiding principles and the Comprehensive Community-Based Primary Health Care program were derived from the "Jamkhed model" created in the early 1970s by Dr. Mabelle Arole and Dr. Rajanikant Arole in the villages of India's Maharashtra State and documented in the book Jamkhed available from the Health and Welfare Office call 212-870-3871 to order.

The Program at Work