“Health is made at home and only repaired in hospitals when it breaks down. Be clean, eat well and do not share accommodation with animals,”
Any Ugandan who was old enough in the 2000s is likely to remember this slogan.
It was contained in the Ministry of Health radio advert to advocate for people-led primary health care as a foundation of health systems.
The catchy phrase “Health is made at home” was invented by the then Director General of Health Services, Prof. Francis Omaswa, who is currently the Executive Director at the Africa Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST).
It has been widely quoted by health experts and enthusiasts to emphasise the role of an integrated and people-centred approach to health care that starts with individuals, families and communities.
Fast forward to 2020, “health is made at home” will no longer just be a quotation, but also a title of a recently published book on global health!
The Health is made at home; Hospitals are for repairs book has been published and launched on June 29th 2020 by global health writer, Lord Nigel Crisp and is now available at www.healthismadeathome.uk.
In his remarks during the virtual book launch on, Lord Crisp acknowledged that the title of the book was inspired by Prof. Omaswa.
“The title of the book was invented by my friend Prof. Francis Omaswa over 20 years ago,” he said.
Health is made at home challenges us to set aside our normal assumptions; to see the world differently and take control of our health. It calls for a new partnership between the National Health Service (NHS), government and the general public to build a healthy and health creating society.
Lord Crisp recognised thousands of people such as teachers, employers, community leaders, architects and entrepreneurs who are not health professionals but who are actively improving health and wellbeing.
People like the Berkshire teachers working with children excluded from school, the unemployed men in Salford improving their community, the woman in Skelmersdale who set up the Sewing Rooms to provide employment and combat loneliness, and the tech entrepreneur in Shropshire who wanted to provide care for his mother and set up a system that is benefitting the whole county and soon the country.
Lord Nigel stressed that health professionals cannot do everything by themselves.
“They can’t deal with many of today’s major health problems such as loneliness, stress, obesity, poverty and addictions. They only really react, doing the repairs but not addressing the underlying causes.
He added: “There are people all over the country who are tackling these causes in their homes, workplaces and communities.”
Lord Crisp emphasised that creating health, or health creation was about creating the conditions for people to be healthy and helping them to be so.
“It’s what parents do, and good teachers and schools, and what good employers do, and people building communities as places you want to live where people know you, where there is meaning and purpose, where you are in control of your lives. All of these health creators – as I call them – exercising a profound and positive influence and helping create resilient, confident, capable and healthy individuals,” he stated.
The COVID19 pandemic should be a wakeup call, observed Lord Crisp.
“COVID has exposed deeply uncomfortable truths not just inequalities and disadvantage, but also about things that shouldn’t happen. And the old normal wasn’t good for everyone. My central message is that as we recover from the pandemic, we need to set about building a healthy and health-creating society and, crucially, this involves each and every one of us,” he said.
Panellists at the book launch included Dr. Richard Horton, the Lancet Editor; Pam Warhurst, Co-founder incredible Edible; Lord Andrew Mowson Executive Chair Well North Enterprises, and Poppy Jaman, the CEO City Mental Health Alliance.
Compiled by Carol Natukunda, Communications Specialist, ACHEST