Peer Based Harm Reduction WA follows health promotion principles and frameworks to enable and empower our consumers.

Health is both a fundamental human right and a sound social investment. Governments need to invest resources in healthier public policy and health promotion in order to raise the health status of all communities. A basic principle of social justice is to ensure that people have access to the essentials for a healthy and satisfying life.

Health is created and lived by people within the settings of their everyday life; where they learn, work, play and love. Health is created by caring for yourself and others, by being able to take decisions and have control over your life circumstances, and by ensuring that the society people live in creates conditions that allow the attainment of health by all its members.

What is health promotion?

As defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO, 1986):

“Health promotion is 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 realise 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 emphasising social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities. Therefore, health promotion is not just the responsibility of the health sector, but goes beyond healthy life-styles to well-being.”

How does Peer Based Harm Reduction WA enable equity, access and development?

Inequalities in health are rooted in inequalities in society. Closing the health gap between socially and educationally disadvantage people and more advantaged people requires policies that improve access to health-enhancing goods and services, and create supportive environments. Such policies assign high priority to underprivileged and vulnerable groups. Furthermore, healthier public policy recognises the unique culture of indigenous peoples, multicultural people, and migrants. Equal access to health services, particularly community health, is a vital aspect of equity in health.

Health promotion aims to reduce differences in current health status and ensure equal opportunities and resources to enable all people to achieve their fullest health potential. This includes a secure foundation in a supportive environment, access to information, life skills and opportunities for making healthier choices. People cannot achieve their fullest health potential unless they are able to take control of those things which determine their health.

Peer Based Harm Reduction WA provides non-judgmental, accurate and informed services to all our consumers. Peer Based Harm Reduction WA also advocates for our consumers to receive better access to health-enhancing goods and services, greater visibility in policy making and opportunities for making healthier choices.

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How does Peer Based Harm Reduction WA increase community capacity and empower the individual?

Health promotion is carried out by and with people, not on or to people. It improves both the ability of individuals to take action, and the capacity of groups, organisations or communities to influence the determinants of health.

Improving the capacity of communities for health promotion requires practical education, leadership training, and access to resources. Empowering individuals demands more consistent, reliable access to the decision-making process and the skills and knowledge essential to effect change.

Peer Based Harm Reduction WA has improved the ability of our consumers to make informed decisions about their health for over 20 years. The NSEP offers skills-based education on safer injecting behaviours and access to resources and referral pathways. Peer Based Harm Reduction WA also has a number of projects to provide training, advocacy and outreach to consumers and to people who work closely with consumers.

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How does Peer Based Harm Reduction WA strengthen community actions?

Health promotion works through concrete and effective community action in setting priorities, making decisions, planning strategies and implementing them to achieve better health. At the heart of their process is the empowerment of communities – their ownership and control of their own endeavours and destinies.

Community development draws on existing human and material resources in the community to enhance self-help and social support, and to develop flexible systems for strengthening public participation of health matters. This requires full and continuous access to information, learning opportunities for health, as well as funding support.

Peer Based Harm Reduction WA has a Community Development Officer who focuses on improving community access to information, strengthening public participation and provides learning opportunities about the role Peer Based Harm Reduction WA has in Western Australia.

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How does Peer Based Harm Reduction WA develop personal skills?

Health promotion supports personal and social development through providing information, education for health, and enhancing life skills. By so doing, it increases the options available to people to exercise more control over their own health and over their environments, and to make choices beneficial to their health. Enabling people to learn, throughout life, to prepare themselves for all of its stages and to cope with chronic illness and injuries is essential.

Peer Based Harm Reduction WA provides training and education sessions for both consumers and those who work closely with consumers. The training and education program offers a range of topics, including information about various substances, safer use of injecting drugs, as well as working with people who inject drugs.

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How does Peer Based Harm Reduction WA reorient health services?

The responsibility for health promotion in health services is shared among individuals, community groups, health professionals, health services institutions and governments. They must work together towards a health care system which contributes to the pursuit of health.

Health services need to embrace an expanded mandate which is sensitive and respects cultural needs. This mandate should support the needs of individuals and communities for a healthier life, and open channels between the health sector and broader social, political, economic and physical environmental components.

Reorienting health services also requires stronger attention to health research, as well as changes in professional education and training. This must lead to a change of attitude and organisation of health services which refocuses on the holistic needs of the individual. Peer Based Harm Reduction WA achieves this in the range of services offered to our consumers, especially in the health clinic based at our Perth site.

Click here for more info about our Health Clinic