Health promotion

Track 5: Building capacity for health promotion

7th Global Conference on Health Promotion: track themes

Sustained health promotion requires institutionalizing it. This means ensuring that health promotion is integrated into the building blocks of financial and human resource planning, knowledge management, partnership building, and capacity for effective implementation.

This process requires leadership that understands the interconnectedness of causes, can strike strategic relationships across sectors, can advocate and mobilize sustained financing and catalyse systemic change in health related policies and infrastructure needed to be built. It entails having wide knowledge complemented by a repertoire of personal attributes.

There is strong need to build leadership capacity to lead the process of institutionalizing health promotion. Countries differ widely in their capacity for health promotion and this needs to be addressed in most developing countries.

Identifying competencies, developing curriculum and strengthening capacity for training for health promotion leadership in countries is an urgent need. It involves generation of innovative ideas on sustainable financing for health promotion such as allocation of a percentage of taxation on tobacco and alcohol for the creation of a health promotion foundation.

This track will address the issues involved in mainstreaming efforts to build leadership capacity in more countries of the world. It will highlight the evidence that countries with higher levels of health promotion capacity also achieve higher levels of development, as indicated by Human Development Index. It will explore how efforts to build leadership, secure sustainable financing, develop knowledge and skills for intersectoral collaboration and effective delivery, can be expanded to achieve a critical mass of capacity for health promotion across countries.

Health promotion leadership development program (PROLEAD)


In 2004, the WHO Western Pacific Region (WPRO) initiated a regional Health Promotion leadership development program, Prolead, to create a critical mass of leaders in health promotion who apply their knowledge and skills to local projects and conditions, but with a global mindset. Prolead recognised the real life difficulties in bringing about systemic changes in policies, and aimed to provide inputs in transformative leadership and management abilities to in-country staff that are in actual or potential positions of leadership.

The demand for Prolead grew and it was adapted and modified. The WHO Kobe Centre offered it globally as well as in the Eastern Mediterranean and South East Asian Regions.

Significant infrastructural changes were seen in participating countries. Malaysia established a Health Promotion Board with a dedicated budget of US$ 11m in 2007 for health promoting activities and to replace sponsorship of sport and cultural activities by tobacco companies. Mongolia passed a law dedicating 2% of tobacco and alcohol taxes to health promotion. Philippines dedicated US$ 10 million from 'sin taxes' to public health over a five year period.

Tonga, Fiji, Viet Nam, Brunei, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon and Yemen also showed strong achievements in institutionalising health promotion.

(Source: Prolead)


1. WHO, 2009, Mainstreaming Health Promotion, draft of technical document in development for the Global Conference on Health Promotion
2. Prolead: