Where do health literacy and health policy meet?

Exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Ude Ucha Kalu, a medical student at the Federal University of Lagos, NigeriaMs Kalu is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA).

Ms Ude Ucha Kalu is a medical student in Lagos, Nigeria.

Ms Ude Ucha Kalu is a medical student in Lagos, Nigeria.

 Health literacy and health policy are important, but why? Health literacy refers to the ability and degree to which an individual can read, utilize information of healthcare to make some decisions and instructions for treatments and prevention. Meanwhile health policy consists of decisions and actions that are undergone to achieve specific healthcare goals in a society. Knowing this, it still looks appalling that many societies are still suffering many disease outbreaks.

Recently health issues have become top priority of many governments in the world, ranging from minor fever to pandemics such as Malaria, Lassa fever and Ebola; but the most disturbing factor is that the people in the region where this outbreak occurs have the highest number of ignorant and illiterate people, who have failed to acknowledge simple factors that could determine the state of their health.

In this context even if a policy is made that may solve a current epidemic, it may not work if the people in these populations are illiterate. Studies have proven that we have more illiterate people health wise; so without proper knowledge, what’s to say that these individuals won’t have problems understanding prescription. Low health literacy has been seen to reduce the success of treatment and increase the risk of treatment and medical error, leading to the medical system being blamed for the cause of more problems.

Health literacy has posed some major problems for implementation of health policies and it has become a known fact that individuals don’t even care about their health until it leads to a major system breakdown, where they have no choice but to seek the help of a health practitioner. If this setoff people had been educated about the risks of certain actions and prevention of certain illnesses, the society would have less health issues to deal with, because its people would have the knowledge to take care of themselves.

In a situation where a society is completely illiterate to curb health issues, then the population will have a hard time relating to policies that may aid their pending situations; this would further spread diseases and it would be harder for the society to fight this disease because the entire population do not understand the measures in the policy that would help to curb the situation. Take Nigeria for instance, during the outbreak of Ebola, because some people were not medically inclined they didn’t die of the disease itself but were poisoning themselves with salt, thinking that it would prevent the disease when the nation initially thought that the disease was airborne. This situation shows that a society can fail in its eradication when not having health ideas about certain diseases. Presently Ebola is still a pandemic in many nations, as people keep on spreading this virus, because they are not well inclined on how to prevent the spread of this disease.

If a society want to implement any public health policy it would be advisable for them to take into consideration the level of the population’s literacy and try to make the explanation as plain as possible, because funny as it may seem, these policies are written in ways that are so ambiguous for the population to understand. Having health policies but having no idea on how to apply it, because the society can’t read and do it , is just like having nothing; because when the basis of something is not understood, the use won’t be evident.

References

1. https://nnlm.gov/

2. https://health.gov/

About the author

Ms Ude Ucha Kalu is a medical student from the Federal University of Lagos, Nigeria. She is also a hobbyist writer and blogger and she likes doing sports and debating.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

EU countries invested €5 trillion abroad

In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities

Italy’s rescue operation Mare Nostrum shuts down with no real replacement. EU’s Triton instead might put lives at risk

Lost in translation

Draghi: A bridge from Brussels to Berlin

Is Europe misjudging its abilities to endure more austerity and unemployment?

Regional policies slowed down by EU bureaucracy

Facts and prejudices about work

European Youth calls on European Council for urgent action on “humanitarian crisis” and questions the EU/Turkey deal respect of human rights

ITU Telecom World 2016: it’s all about working together

The US bugged Europe: Is this news?

What changes in the EU as from today

Digital business is Europe’s best hope to get back to growth

250 days until the European Parliament elections

The way to entrepreneurship in the developing world

Facebook wins EU approval for WhatsApp acquisition; just a sign of the times

“Hasta la vista” Google says to Spain and now Europe is next?

Youth unemployment: No light at the end of the tunnel

The three sins the EU committed in 2015

Imaginary Journeys Into Eternal China

European Investment Bank to borrow €70 billion in 2013

More bank bailouts at taxpayers’ expenses

The European Sting at the Retail Forum for Sustainability live from Barcelona

10 months were not enough for the EU to save the environment but 2 days are

My twin from Guangzhou

Medical Doctors in Industry 4.0: pure science fiction

A sterilised EMU may lead to a break up of Eurozone

An American duel in Brussels: Salesforce against Microsoft over Linkedin deal

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: Children Will Bear the Brunt of Climate Change: UNICEF

France: New labour laws for more competitiveness

EU Commission: The banks are not obliged to finance the real economy

Commission to decide on bank resolution issues

Memoirs from a unique trip to China: “my new old dragon” (Part I)

The EU learns about fishing and banking from tiny Iceland

Medicine in the 4th Industrial Revolution: the third entity of the new doctor-patient relationship

Cédric in India

EU Council: The US airlines may freely pollute the European air

The EU Parliament sidesteps the real issues about banks, while the US target the Eurozone lenders

Galileo funding: A ‘small’ difference of €700 million

Resolving banks with depositors’ money?

European Business Summit 2015: In search of a vision for the future

Commission’s action against imports from China questioned

Who is to pay the dearest price in a global slowdown?

Why youth unemployment is so difficult to counter

IMAGINATION, FACTS AND OPPORTUNITIES – THE UNLIMITED POWER OF CHINA

Eurozone: Economic sentiment-business climate to collapse without support from exports

“If the job market doesn’t exist, then even the most brilliant Youth Guarantee cannot ensure a job to these young people”, European Youth Forum Secretary General Giuseppe Porcaro on another Sting Exclusive

It’s a week dedicated to all EU budgets; seven days that can make or break the Union

Merkel, Mercedes and Volkswagen to abolish European democracy

Three countries losing ground and one new prime minister

Time to be welcome: Youth work and integration of young refugees

JADE Testimonial #3: Sebastian @ Fundraising

The EU tells the bare truth to the UK that there is no such thing as easy divorces

The Eurogroup protects Germany and blames others

The IMF sees Brexit’s ‘substantial impact’ while the world’s economy holds its breath

Education and Training: where do we stand in 2014?

ECB bets billions on Eurozone’s economic recovery

“Be aware where you put your I Agree signature on and something else”; now Facebook by default opts you in an unseen private data bazar

Europe rethinking its severe austerity policies

More Stings?

Comments

  1. i agree with what you’re saying. so many ideas but how to implement is so low.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s