Health Systems, Healthcare Workforce

Capacity Building to Address Global Health Challenges

~Written by Karen Hicks – Senior Health Promotion Strategist, Auckland New Zealand. (Contact:

Increasingly the world is challenged with complex health problems. Developing a competent health promotion workforce is essential to addressing the related inequities and global health challenges.

Global health issues provide both a challenge and an opportunity for a competent health promotion workforce to work across cultures and settings with an international perspective.  An approach requiring an understanding of the determinants of health and the vital role health promotion has in achieving sustainable health gains.

At times health promotion has been challenged by the belief that anyone can undertake health promotion. This is partly the result of its strategy to promote its principles across the community making it everyone’s business. However health promotion is increasingly acknowledged as a discipline with specific knowledge, skills and distinct approaches that challenges such beliefs. 

Health promotion competencies have been developed as a capacity building tool that has successfully defined the knowledge and practice for effective health promotion, ensuring that health promotion principles, values and philosophy are reflected.

There are a number of international health promotion competencies frameworks that can be used to:

  • Guide planning, implementation and evaluation of initiatives
  • Provide the base for accountable practice and quality improvement
  • Inform education, training and qualification frameworks
  • Clarify health promotion roles and develop relevant job descriptions
  • Improve recognition and validation of health promotion
  •   Further reading and examples of some health promotion competency frameworks: