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May 24, 2016

Community participation for transformative action on women's, children's and adolescents' health

Region: Global Scientific publication Empowering and engaging people and communities, Reorienting the model of care, Coordinating services within and across sectors, Creating an enabling environment Source: Bulletin of the World Health Organization

The Global strategy for women's, children's and adolescents' health (2016-2030) recognizes that people have a central role in improving their own health. We propose that community participation, particularly communities working together with health services (co-production in health care), will be central for achieving the objectives of the global strategy. Community participation specifically addresses the third of the key objectives: to transform societies so that women, children and adolescents can realize their rights to the highest attainable standards of health and well-being. In this paper, we examine what this implies in practice. We discuss three interdependent areas for action towards greater participation of the public in health: improving capabilities for individual and group participation; developing and sustaining people-centred health services; and social accountability. We outline challenges for implementation, and provide policy-makers, programme managers and practitioners with illustrative examples of the types of participatory approaches needed in each area to help achieve the health and development goals.