Health is defined in relation to the environmental and human characteristics of people’s daily lives and the links between them. Health includes the impact of human activities on the health of individuals and groups, their economy and their environment.
Hunger, malnutrition, malaria, water-borne diseases, drug and alcohol abuse, violence and injury, unplanned pregnancy, HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections are just some of the problems that have enormous implications for health.
Awareness and education are powerful ways to drive behavioural change related to health:
- Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over and improve their health;
- The goal of universal education cannot be achieved while the health needs of all remain unmet;
- Education should also enable people to learn to live healthily in a world with HIV and AIDS and other major widespread health risks;
- Policy, management and systems should provide guidance, oversight, coordination, monitoring and evaluation to ensure an effective, sustainable, and institutionalized educational response to health challenges;
- Education should enable learners to adopt caring and supportive attitudes to others as well as protective and health-seeking behaviours for themselves.
ESD and Health promotion at UNESCO
UNESCO plays a leading role in EDUCAIDS and the UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) on Education, key mechanisms in strengthening the UNAIDS combined effort to achieve universal access to prevention programmes, treatment, care, and support.
UNESCO supports responses to HIV and AIDS that are inclusive and sensitive to the needs and issues of all, but with particular attention to key populations especially vulnerable to HIV and young people in school settings. UNESCO also supports responses that are gender and age responsive, culturally appropriate, evidence-informed, and grounded in human rights.