IMPROVING HEALTH AND WELLBEING OF VULNERABLE AND DISADVANTAGED PEOPLE
There are strong links between poverty, poor health and wellbeing. We’ve seen great progress in the last 20 years, but inequality means we still face serious challenges. In 2015, 5.9 million children worldwide died before their fifth birthday. In the UK, nearly half of children in care, and 95% of imprisoned young offenders, have a mental health disorder, while more than two thirds of homeless people in the UK have physical health problems. More than half of people trafficked to the UK for sexual exploitation, domestic work and forced labour experience severe mental health problems.
Whether vulnerable people are facing the challenges of living with HIV in Malawi, or seeking treatment for depression in Leeds, a mixture of social, cultural, environmental and economic barriers often stop people from getting the support they desperately need. All around the world, millions of lives are damaged or sadly lost every year.
Working mainly in the UK and sub-Saharan Africa, we prioritise work that addresses physical and mental health and wellbeing - working with individuals, families, communities and service providers to find solutions together. We also help people with long term conditions like HIV, by supporting projects that help people to lead fulfilling lives.
Helping people access quality health and wellbeing services
We want to find out which barriers are stopping people from using vital services, and work out how to break them down. Our focus on ‘services and resources’, enables us to help people understand where help is available, how to access it and how to make sure it meets their individual needs.
We focus on prevention, early intervention and living well, while also supporting services that consider the person as a whole – understanding and tackling the social causes that are aggravating their health problems. We support existing health care systems, collaborating with key organisations, like government, private and not-for-profit providers, and encouraging a joined up response through partnership working and collaboration.
Internationally, we help people through a wide range of key stages, getting involved with sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, as well as working with people affected by HIV. We support stronger health systems, particularly in community and primary care settings, improving both the supply and demand for health services.
Tackling stigma and discrimination
Even when help is available, stigma and discrimination stop some of the most disadvantaged people from getting the support they desperately need relating to both physical and mental health issues. We support projects that tackle this major barrier. In line with our approach that ensures we put people at the heart of everything we do, we believe people who’ve experienced health issues themselves are best placed to develop solutions. We actively look to support organisations that are led by people with direct experience of the issues we want to tackle.
In the UK – we focus primarily on supporting groups of marginalised people that we know find it hard to access support for their health and wellbeing needs. For example people with disabilities and refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Around the world, one of our key focuses is supporting people affected by HIV, including the most at risk and marginalised groups, such as sex workers, men who have sex with men and injecting drug users. We will also support maternal health issues - from stillbirth to fistula - where discrimination can occur.
Helping people take control of their health
We believe individuals should be able to speak out and access what they need, where and when they need it - wherever they are in the world. In the UK we support work that helps people take control of their personal health needs. We help individuals, interest groups and organisations come together, identifying barriers and developing collaborative solutions. Around the world we focus on low-cost models of care geared for local communities. We also work to strengthen community systems, helping integrate them into the health system, so individuals, families and communities can hold the relevant service providers to account, demanding quality and relevant health care that really meets their needs.