Exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Bruna Schwaab, student of Medicine at the Univille University in Joinville City, Brazil. Ms Schwaab is afiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA).
Health Literacy is the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decision (CDC, 2015). In addition, a health policy can be defined by a law, regulation, procedure, administrative action, incentive, or voluntary practice of governments and other institutions capable of generating long-term benefits and equity in health systems (CDC, 2015). Both of them bound the concept of global health that is integrated by Sustainable Development, whose aim is to promote equity through public policies, and depends on actions of good governance and democracy of the nations.
The progression of Sustainable Development is to achieve WHO’s goals as to end the epidemic of tropical neglected diseases (NTDs); to end infectious diseases as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; to combat hepatitis; to reduce mortality due to environmental factors as air, pollution and water. The goals of sustainable development cannot be achieved when there is a high prevalence of debilitating illness and poverty, and the health of a population cannot be maintained without a responsive health system and a healthy environment (WHO, 2003). Then, we need to create polices that can be conducted by improving sanitation in poor countries in this case. In spite of this, health and disease are linkage with socioeconomics determinants as poverty, housing and environment conditions, but it depends on every individual understanding.
For instance, the Unified Health System (UHS) in Brazil becomes sustainability when public polices can change the quality of administration on health public, as well as with the public servers, their capacity and discipline. This is Health Literacy in practice, to understand that a self action can make huge difference in a long-term. And it`s the same with our epidemics disease, like Zika, AIDS, tuberculosis. All strategies with family doctor and Community Agents of Health can improve UHS and decrease infection disease, mortality and epidemiological notification. This can make Health Literacy and Health Polices walk side by side and turn Brazilian health sustainable.
Every country has its only democracy, but when it can put health’s people as a substantial role in a centre of targets, it can be more efficient than when one Health System is putting on the middle of targets. People by Health Literacy needs approaching to human rights and being empowered by an action that public health can give them.
In addition to this, as a global vision of health, it`s more effective when health system efforts is based on equity, life-course, multi sectoral action, strategies, national action cooperated with international all targeting to global health. As options of policies, health system can be conducted by advocacy, development in a long-term.
Nowadays, moreover, every country has its single health system policy that can conduct sustainable development of global health by measuring risk, inputs, outputs, progress, to take a feedback with the impact in a long-term in public health by making people a change of the system too. It’s better, because all this actions can promote a Health Literacy and Health Policy together.
About the author
Bruna Schwaab is 22 years old. She is Brazilian and lives in Joinville, a southern state from Brazil called Santa Catarina. She is a membership of IFMSA Brazil from Local Committee of Univille as Local Public Coordinator Director and studies Medicine in Univille University in Joinville City. She likes all about global health, contributed with her ideias with some words in articles for IFMSA and MSI (Medical Students International) news and makes efforts to local actions like: Action about Zika Vírus, Prevention Influenza H1N1 in Primary School, Project with Elderly’s Health, Teddy Bear Hospital with Children in Basic School and other ones for IFMSA purposes. She is in the fifth semester of Medicine and likes World Health Organization.
Central Disease Control. Health literacy and health policy, USA, 9 november 2015. USA: CDC; 2015.
Word Health Organization. SDG Health and health-related targets, Geneva, 10 april 2016. Geneva: WHO; 2016.
World Health Organization. The world health report 2013. Research for universal health coverage, Geneva: WHO; 2013.
World Health Organization. World summit on sustainable development, Geneva, april 2003. Geneva: WHO; 2003.