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The Role of Health Promotion in Disease Outbreaks and Health Emergencies


  • Glenn Laverack

    () (Health Promotion Research, University of Southern Denmark, Niels Bohrs Vej 9, 6700 Esbjerg, Denmark)


Health promotion has a key role to play in disease outbreaks and health emergencies because it can offer well-established bottom-up approaches that engage with people to be an active part of a response. International agencies did learn from their earlier mistakes in, for example, the recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, even though an attempt to engage with communities was not initially widely implemented. Many agencies preferred to use pre-packaged approaches which had an emphasis on individual behavior changes and health care delivery. This had a questionable effect because disease outbreaks and health emergencies must actively communicate with and involve people to be successful. Health promotion practice recognizes the value of community capacity-building, participation and empowerment—aspects that are already intrinsic to many health promotion programs. An understanding of how this is achieved in practice will help agencies to find an appropriate way forward to involve and better communicate with communities when the next disease outbreak inevitably occurs.

Suggested Citation

  • Glenn Laverack, 2017. "The Role of Health Promotion in Disease Outbreaks and Health Emergencies," Societies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-3, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsoctx:v:7:y:2017:i:1:p:2-:d:89872

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    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Ebola


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Glenn Laverack, 2018. "‘Leaving No One Behind’: The Challenge of Reaching Migrant Populations," Challenges, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(2), pages 1-5, September.

    More about this item


    disease outbreaks; empowerment; health promotion; communication; community engagement;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • P - Economic Systems
    • P0 - Economic Systems - - General
    • P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • P3 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions
    • P4 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics


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