Our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic demonstrates how the health of the population relies on the efforts of everybody, every community and all our services and systems doing things differently for the public good.
In working to prevent ill health and promote health and wellbeing we have advocated for a a united effort – across government, across communities, across schools, health services and businesses. As the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) has shown, we all have a role to play in protecting and improving the health and wellbeing of all Victorians.
Prevention, health promotion and community development approaches are particularly important in the context of the pandemic, for both disease prevention and maximising people’s health and wellbeing, such as:
- applying prevention and health promotion expertise to maximise the reach of coronavirus (COVID-19) key messages and build the capacity of communities to follow that advice (see the dedicated websites Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and About coronavirus (COVID-19)
- and significantly contributing to building responsible and caring communities, with particular attention to reducing health inequalities.
Victorian agencies are encouraged to continue to direct efforts to the focus areas of the Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2019–2023 , however, in the current context, this may demand creative, innovative and new strategies! As agencies significantly alter the way they undertake many activities in order to make them as safe as possible, pause activities that are unable to be carried out safely, and adapt other activities for delivery in line with contemporary social distancing and stay-at-home directions, it will be important to share what we have learnt as we move forward. Questions, ideas and suggestions from health promotion staff are welcome through our prevention email.
A number of resources have been created to support prevention and health promotion action in response to coronavirus (COVID-19):
- VicHealth – Health Promotion Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Hub
- Achievement program – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information
- Healthy Eating Advisory Services - Coronavirus (COVID-19) information hub
- Diabetes Victoria and the department have developed an alternative online delivery option for the group courses offered through the Life! – Helping you prevent diabetes, heart disease and stroke program. The new online group courses commenced in early May and telephone health coaching as part of the Life! program remains available.
- The Victorian Healthy Eating Enterprise and Victorian Active Living Alliance will proceed in 2020 and provide a mechanism for funded agency and the sector to remain connected.
The department’s Population Health and Community Wellbeing Area teams are also available to liaise with agencies to discuss and support your contribution to the local response.
All agencies and staff are encouraged to keep up-to-date with current coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and information available on the Department of Health and Human Services websites Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or Coronavirus COVID-19 daily update or through the department’s Coronavirus hotline (1800 675 398, 24 hours/day).