Health is a product of many things ... whilst our individual make-up mirroring our genetic heritage has some impact on our health, overwhelmingly our health as part of a population comes from our social relationships, the environmental conditions in which we live and the degree of power over our lives that we can assert.
It is therefore not surprising that the wealthy generally experience better health than the poor. What is often not so well recognised is that the gap between rich and poor in a society is a more significant determinant of health than the absolute level of wealth beyond a minimum to prevent starvation. Whilst wealthy individuals can develop luxurious enclaves within which to live and be healthy, ordinary people rely on each other to develop and express their power. Isolated, poor individuals are likely to have poor health indeed.
Thus we have tried to focus on collective solutions and interventions rather than individual ones. This is not to discount the importance of individual interventions whether physical, psychological or spiritual. Clearly individuals with particular health problems need access to a range of professional advice and support. Indeed part of the collective solution that we seek to explore is the equitable access to health care services broadly defined. But the health of populations is unlikely to improve substantially by being passive recipients of professional services that tend to replicate the broader societal inequities in their professional practice.
Sustainable improvements in the health status of a population require their active struggle around the issues identified by them. How the range of professionals - clinicians, community development professionals, social workers, etc. - relate to disadvantaged populations is a key issue. Is it a relationship characterised by solidarity or is it one that encourages continuing dependency ie paternalism.
This site is an attempt to present ideas about health, explore their significance and to stimulate debate about what we believe is the central factor in determining good health - power relationships. It is designed to be dynamic in that we hope it will continue to grow tapping into the breadth of knowledge and experience that has come from people's struggles on a wide front.