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Health promotion and disease prevention are a vital component to all areas of healthcare delivery, especially in the role of nurses. Health promotion and disease prevention is not just a local level issue but carries great impact on a national and international level.


In 1986, the World Health Organization defined health promotion as: “the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. To reach a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, an individual or group must be able to identify and to realize aspirations, to satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment. Health is, therefore, seen as a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities” (p.1). At the ending of this meeting there were recommendations of prerequisites that would be needed to reach “Health for All by 2000.” These recommendations included the role of organizations to collaborate together to make this goal acheivable.


Health for all was not achieved by 2000. Globally we needed to work together to assure that access and equality to fundamental needs were addressed the United Nations Millenium Goals were developed with the goal of them being reached by 2015 (United Nations, 2005):


  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Develop a global partnership for development


There are disparities between access and equality in countries around the world but even the financially strong countries have issues with communicable diseases, environmental sustainability, poverty and hunger (Labonté et al., 2004).


The Canadian Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) must work with other organizations, including nursing associations, affiliated with these causes to making the Millennium goals and all the necessary access and equality to fundamental health needs a reachable target. CNSA must promote health and disease prevention for all Canadians and all citizens of the world. Nursing students and nurses work day in and day out in various areas of the health care settings and are a first hand witness to the impact that health promotion and disease prevention can have on a society. Therefore, we must maintain and work to strength our own Canadian public health and community health systems to assure that human needs are being met. As well, we must advocate our governments to put funding into the Canadian primary healthcare system and international development. We must work towards the initial goal put out in the Ottawa Charter to assure Health for All.




Labonté et al., (2004). FATAL INDIFFERENCE – The G8, Africa, and Global Health. University of Cape Town Press.

United Nations (2006).

World Health Organization (1986). Ottawa Charter of Health Promotion. Geneva.