Community Health Education in Commonwealth countries

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Gill Walt, Pamela Constantinides
01 Jan 1983
9781848593589 (PDF)
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  • Summary

    This study was undertaken to collect information about community health education in Commonwealth countries, looking at activities and programmes relating to primary health care. Particular attention was paid to the role of the media, and to identifying programmes and projects that could be a stimulus to other countries.

  • Introduction

    At the Sixth Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting in Tanzania in 1980 it was decided that a study on community health education should be commissioned. It was noted at that meeting that “in order to achieve improvements in primary health care which is the key to raising health standards, the family must be educated and motivated to assume many responsibilities for its own health care. This can be achieved through a vigorous programme of health education…”.

  • What is Community Health Education?

    Although the idea of health education has a long history, government involvement in it is relatively recent. Over time, and all over the Commonwealth, individuals have taken it on their shoulders to extol the need for health education and “propaganda”, but it is probably fair to say that it is only in the last twenty or thirty years that health education has received financial and institutional support on a national scale.

  • Current Activities

    In this section we discuss the responses to the questionnaires sent to Commonwealth countries. Forty-seven countries (including four dependencies) completed questionnaires.

  • Three Case Studies

    In this section we look in more detail at three countries chosen specifically because they have all involved communities in health education in very different ways. Tanzania ran a radio campaign called Man is health, with up to one million people participating in study groups and related activities. Sri Lanka is involving young volunteers to be catalysts in their villages, linking the community to the health services.

  • Innovation in Community Health Education

    One of the questions asked in the health education questionnaire was whether individual Commonwealth countries were engaged in any experimental or innovatory health education work. Of the 47 countries who responded to this question 19 said frankly that they were not.

  • Using Mass Media

    Many health educators are attracted to the idea of using television and radio for health education. Aside from being glamorous and “modern”, these media have the potential of reaching very large numbers of people. In the less developed countries these factors may be particularly influential, reinforced by the enthusiasm of foreign aid donors to give and countries to sell equipment.

  • Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Appendices and Visits
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