Looking at Historical Health Promotion

Health isn’t just about not being sick. It’s about all the things that keep people healthy and strong.

Congress has been talking up for health and giving people good messages for health for nearly fifty years.

Here we look back at some old Congress health promotion messaging.

The Congress Health Promotion logo (above) shows things Aboriginal people need to be healthy and strong. Aboriginal artists who contributed to this logo in 1988 said the logo shows people taking care of each other, looking after children and old people, eating good tucker, drinking fresh water, telling stories and talking, getting exercise, growing generation after generation and families sticking together.

These ideas about health also match the first Aboriginal Health Strategy which was developed in the 1980s by a working party including many Aboriginal leaders. They said that health is “not just the physical well-being of the individual but the social, emotional and cultural well-being of the whole community”.

This logo was also made into a badge:

Sources: Congress Health Gossip #2 May 1988; National Aboriginal Health Strategy 1989, Reprint 1996. 

Here is some other historical health promotion messaging:

"Always brush your teeth, every morning and night"
This painting, painted in 1999 by Riley Williams, is a story about men’s health. The centre circle is the men’s part of the health clinic with male health workers and other male clinicians working together. All of the surrounding circles are men and boy’s camps. The red footsteps symbolise the sick men and boys. They come to the clinic for a check-up. Later on they leave the clinic feeling better and then sit with the healthy men and boys camps. Here they are able to play football, hunt and go camping with no problems. The black and white footprints symbolise the male health worker and the other male clinician visiting men and boys on their out-stations or camps to check on men’s health.
Congress continues to put these ideas about health into practice through its health promotion activities, social and emotional well-being work, Ingkintja for men’s health and Alukura for women’s health, as well as through clinics and family support.


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