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2019-10-08

Ways to the Strengthening of Community Health

Written by Lorena Fernandez
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In Pacheco Community we discussed the definition of health.

Currently, the WHO defines it as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not just the absence of conditions or diseases." This definition includes psychological and social aspects, but uses the expression "state" that indicates the reference to an unattainable situation since we live in changing personal, social, economic, political and environmental circumstances; and if the goal is "a state of perfect well-being," one warns that this can never be achieved.

Health as a Process

In opposition to considering health as a state, we understand that health is a dynamic process and that there are multiple factors that have an impact on it, therefore, the responsibility to promote it should not fall solely on health centers, but would involve everyone The actors of society. Then, the community intervention in health would be meaningful, defined as the approach of the same from the community itself, through the planning of strategies that allow coercive participation between the inhabitants of a community and the “health professionals”.

Pacheco Community and Community Health

We understand community health as the collective expression of health and community health intervention as an action carried out with and from the community through participation processes.
Based on these ideas, Pacheco community partners began to give workshops like after school support and Arts in the neighborhood.

Two health workers shared their view on community health:

Alejandro Lucero, psychologist and companion of FM Riachuelo, who is part of the radio program "Al gran pueblo, salud!" states that health-related issues should not necessarily seen as "being sick", that is, not only one has to access health when you are sick, but you can access them also when you are healthy. This would allow you to learn more about the system and the professionals so that it is not something strange or distant, especially thinking about community health and prevention.

Regarding the learning and recreation spaces open to the community within the health center, Alejandro tells us that these can have a healing function because if there is something that is damaged in our current, dominant, western and capitalist culture, it's the link with others. “Psychoanalysis talks a lot about what is called the social bond and the relationship with the other in our culture is always thought in the way of the competition of individuals, first they educate us with the illusion that each of us is an individual and then we get sick because of that, because we are subjected to a competition with the other instead of considering that we are a transindividuality that originates our subjectivity. That is why having a space with others to exchange and think together somehow relieves this need for competition”.


Patricio Pisciecelli, doctor and director of CAFYS Center located in Las Tunas, expresses that one should no longer think of health “for the community”, but health “with and from the community”, focusing on the concept of community participation , understood as the action strategy that allows creative responses to the demands of each particular territory. Opening the doors of the CAFYS to the neighborhood offers the possibility of strengthening social ties and empowering each neighbor on health issues to be protagonists of their own history; this  means, "think, do and resist collectively for social integration."

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