‘Equal Health, Equal Chances’, ten years of community work on better health
In Gelijke Gezondheid, Gelijke Kansen (GGGK, ‘Equal Health, Equal Chances’) regional health services, local authorities and other local partners, together with inhabitants, join efforts to improve the living environment in deprived areas in the city of Tilburg. Main goal is to reduce the health gap for people with a low social economic status. The project explicitly starts from the experience and needs of the inhabitants of the included areas. GGGK works with a so called Gezonde Chaos-method (‘Healthy Chaos’): the project not merely chooses for evidence based interventions, but develops its project plans together with all people concerned. This method of tackling the health gap asks for an integrated health policy, in which not only the social environment is subject to change, but also the physical environment. To develop such a health policy, a broadly based and long term (political) support is needed, but also the courage to let a ‘healthy chaos’ exist. Lessons from ten years GGGK: don’t try to capture everything in models, and keep it simple, nearby, concrete and clear.