New Structures for Health Promotion
The Cabinet Sub Committee ensures that there is a forum at the highest level at which intersectoral issues and conflicts inherent in implementing a policy of health promotion can be discussed and resolved. The sub-committee consists of the Ministers for Agriculture, Education, Energy, Environment and Labour under the chairmanship of the Minister for Health.
The Advisory Council on Health Promotion is awaiting the appointment of a new chairman, following the death of Professor Ivor Drury, President of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland. Its members are drawn from a wide cross section of interest whose activities impact on health, e.g. agriculture, nutrition, environment, life assurance, local authorities, etc. The Council’s function is to examine the various influences which determine the quality of people’s health, to identify priority areas for action and to recommend measures which are likely to advance the health of the individual. The Council has met several times and has carried out much of its work through three sub-committees -
2. Alcohol and Tobacco;
3. Accidents and Exercise.
The Health Promotion Unit, in addition to taking on responsibility for the development of health education programmes, which had been the remit of the Health Education Bureau, is also responsible for developing a wider policy of health promotion, acting in conjunction with the appropriate statutory and voluntary agencies in the health and other relevant sectors.
The Unit has been active since its establishment and has already launched a number of significant campaigns both in its own right and in association with a number of voluntary agencies.
*participation with the Irish Cancer Society in the Europe Against Cancer Week;
*the launch of “Drugs Questions - Local Answers?”, a community based approach to combatting alcohol and drug abuse;
*the launch of CLEANWATCH. This major foodhygiene promotion was developed by the Health Promotion Unit in co-operation with the Health Boards and the Environmental Health Officers Association and had the active support of Bord Failte, Shannon Development Authority, national trade associations, consumer groups etc.
*the launch of a national Measles, Mumps and Rubella (M.M.R.) Immunisation campaign, which aims to eradicate these three diseases from Ireland. The one-dose vaccination will replace the single measles vaccine currently on offer and is available free from general practitioners.
*the national AIDS public awareness campaign;
*a national ‘No Smoking’ day.
*the publication and launch of a booklet on solvent abuse which aims to help professionals and parents in combatting this problem
*the development of an Action for Life Project which is a Health Related Physical Fitness Programme for schools.
On an on-going basis, the Health Promotion Unit is involved in assisting the work of various voluntary organisations and it works with the Department of Education in the development of health promotion material for schools.
The Unit also makes available a wide range of educational materials on various aspects of health; these include smoking, alcohol, drug abuse, AIDS, child care, nutrition, back care, foot care, heart disease, etc. and they can be obtained by telephone request to the Unit.