Health promotion interventions to address climate change using a primary health care approach: a literature review Academic Article uri icon


  • ISSUE ADDRESSED:This project explored the literature in which key concepts in primary health care and health promotion are overtly applied to the problem of climate change. This paper contains a discussion of the literature relevant to health promotion principles and intervention strategies for addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation in the primary health care sector. The concept of primary health care is that used by the World Health Organization, based on the Declaration of Alma Ata and often referred to as comprehensive primary health care to differentiate it from primary medical care. METHODS:This was a review of literature identified in electronic databases using two sets of search terms. Set A consisted of 'climate change or global warming or greenhouse effect' and set B consisted of 11 key concepts in primary health care and health promotion, for example community resilience, health promotion, social change, food security and economic development. Relevant literature was identified at the intersection of search term A with a term from set B. A search was completed for each set B term. RESULTS:This paper reports a discussion of major categories of health promotion interventions, namely health communication, community building and settings approaches and uses examples drawn from literature on community resilience and summer heat. These interventions are all applicable to the primary health care sector. CONCLUSION:There is a small literature on health promotion interventions for climate change mitigation and adaptation but it is incomplete and scattered across many sources. An important area for further research is to link the logic of service provision in primary health care to the logic of mitigation and adaptation in a changing environment. Interventions that link the logic must also link diverse services to provide coherent action on local and domestic scales, the scales at which primary health care acts. Another research gap is in regard to institutional change in the primary health care sector. How do the patterns of knowledge, practice and values need to change in the array of organisations that make up comprehensive primary health care?

publication date

  • 2011