Population health and wellbeing

In most places, attempts to achieve better population health and wellbeing fall short because efforts tend not to focus on addressing the root causes – the determinants of health and the reduction of health disparities. It is for this reason that we need to shift our focus from problem solving, disease-specific approaches to assuming accountability towards a territorially defined population. There is ample evidence of successful population health approaches, both in terms of improving outcomes and cost-effectiveness, even though the benefits may take years to materialise.

For population health approaches to work effectively, they must take into account local contexts and have a clear understanding of what the local strengths/assets, pressures and needs are. This requires access to good quality, joined up information to understand the population and the areas of greatest need and vulnerabilities so this can inform policy, service design and delivery. It also requires active involvement and resourcing of local authorities to tailor initiatives according to local strengths and goals.

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