The term “Health Education” refers to a profession wherein people are taught about the promotion, maintenance, and restoration of their health. Health in this aspect refers to mental health, physical health, psychological health, social health, sexual health, and reproductive health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Health Education as a program to improve health literacy and develop skills that are conducive to individual and community health.
Long and Short Essay on Health Education
Essay 1 (250 Words)
“Health Education” refers to educating an individual or a community for adopting better, healthy and hygienic living conditions. Health Education aims to raise awareness of individuals and communities on various aspects of health like – physical health, mental health, psychological health, prevention of diseases, sexual and reproductive health, etc. Health education is a broad subject and might also include topics like health issues of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and environmental health.
Who are Health Educators
Anyone with proper knowledge of health and hygiene and relevant knowledge on health issues could provide health education through face to face interaction with individuals or communities. However, some people are specially trained for the purpose and are certified health specialists, also referred to as health educators.
The government of India has launched a number of programs for promoting health care, preventing communicable – noncommunicable diseases and other relevant causes. The programs have a dedicated team of trained professionals functioning as health educators and medical supervisors. Health educators interact with villagers in remote areas, educating them on the issues of general health and diseases.
Teachers in schools could also function as health educators by educating children about maintaining proper health and hygiene. They can educate children about various communicable and non-communicable diseases and how to prevent them by adopting healthy habits and hygiene.
Health Education in developing countries is an absolute necessity, in order to raise health literacy and lower the mortality rate arising due to various diseases and other health-related issues. There is also a need for mandatory health education in schools by making the necessary policy changes in this regard. The authorities must also ensure that the program is backed up by a trained workforce, specializing in interacting and educating children and teachers. Also, the teachers could be trained as health educators, to spread awareness among the students and the community.
Essay 2 (400 Words)
Health Education refers to educating individuals, groups or communities in areas of health. It aims to educate people on how to maintain personal health. However, in broader aspects, health education also aims to improving the overall health of a community. It also covers various areas of health as – physical health, mental health, psychological health, emotional health, sexual health, and reproductive health.
State of Health Education in India
The need for public health education in India was realized as early as in 1940 when a committee under the chairmanship of Sir Joseph Bhore (Indian Civil Servant) emphasized the inadequate teaching on public health in undergraduate training programs for medical students.
Today health education in India has been considerably improved, backed by various institutes and a trained workforce including doctors, nursing workers paramedics, etc who specialize in areas of public health.
Presently, India has two types of public health professionals – one who is trained in core public health or specializes in a specific public health area; second, one who acquires a medical degree or diploma before specializing in public health.
Though, the state of health education in India is constantly improving because of various government initiatives to improve and increase trained workforce; still, there is a shortage of trained professionals and a need to increase their numbers and skills.
Role of Health Educator/Teacher in Health Education
The spread of diseases and subsequent deaths could best be prevented by educating people on the various areas of health education. Here come the role and need for a health educator. A health educator is a professionally trained individual who specializes in areas regarding public health. He is well equipped with resources and strategies to educate individuals, groups or communities on how to maintain proper health and hygiene. School teachers are also trained in areas of public health under various programs, in order to increase the workforce and to reach out to more and more people.
Despite all the institutes that provide professional courses on public health, there is a shortfall of the trained public health workforce in India. There is a need to set up more institutes and including professionals from other fields in order to fill the gap. Also, the number of students opting for public health is considerably low with regards to other professional degree or diploma courses. Thus, for improving public health, we need to build institutes giving public health professionals, create job opportunities for those professionals and framing a career path for them.
Essay 3 (500 Words)
Health Education constitutes educational programs directed towards improving the state of health and hygiene among individuals and communities. Health Education provides information about the factors that affect the health and hygiene of an individual or a community.
Strengths of Health Education in India
One of the main strengths of Health education in India is the presence of an adequate multi-level infrastructure both in the government and non-government sectors. The central health education bureau works in collaboration with the state health education bureau, up to the block level.
Another strength of Health education in India is an efficiently trained workforce. The majority of health educators in India are either graduate or postgraduate.
Another strength of health education in India lies in the successful information dispensation throughout its states, despite the linguistic variations. India has 15 official languages and several local dialects; even then health education programs are able to successfully convey the message.
Weaknesses of Health Education in India
Weaknesses of the health education in India include high dependability on print media, lack of research and conventional training methods of educators, inability to reach all the remote villages and no avenues of professional growth for health educators.
Most of the campaigns on health education, either in government or nongovernment sector rely on print media for promotion; through, newspapers, posters, and pamphlets. Around 40% of Indians are unable to read or write, which defeats the purpose as the promotion fails to reach the uneducated at ground level.
Another weakness of Health education in India is the absence of better growth avenues for the functionaries. Because of not being properly organized, the profession is non-lucrative for youths, who rather opt for other more promising professional courses.
Also, the mode of training and education in public health is conventional and there is a dire need to integrate modern techniques along with better exposure to the professionals.
Methods to Improve Health Education in India
One of the best ways to improve the state of public health education in India is to let a well-trained workforce reach out to people in remote areas. More emphasis should be given on interacting with the villagers on occasions of public gathering like – fares, markets, etc. Moreover, methods like plays, folk shows should be used to convey the message, rather than print media.
People visiting hospitals and clinics are more conscious about health issues and so efforts must be made to educate them. They naturally tend to be more receptive and benefit from the programs.
Schools could also play a significant role in spreading health education. Schools are the best place to interact with children belonging to different sections of society. Teachers could be adequately trained to impart health education to the children. Children, on the other hand, could share their knowledge with their parents, relatives, and friends.
Also, it should be made compulsory for any medical professional to serve a fixed tenure in some remote village, where s/he is vested with the responsibility of educating people about health and hygiene along with addressing their ailments.
It is imperative for India to improve to a never seen before standards of health. For which is also necessary to target the marginalized sections of Indian society; for it is they who are deprived of basic health amenities and are oblivious of many health concerns. There is a need to open new avenues of health education, at ground level as well as strengthening the infrastructure related to health education.
Essay 4 (600 Words)
“Health Education” aims to impart knowledge regarding measures to be taken by an individual or community in order to improve their overall health. India is a developing nation, but various communicable and non-communicable diseases still claim thousands of lives annually. Also, the figures reveal varying infant mortality rates from states to states – it is 6 per 1000 births in Kerala and in Uttar Pradesh it is 64 per 1000 births.
The prime cause of high infant mortality is the absence of trained medical professionals and people’s own ignorance about health conditions. In such a state of affairs, it becomes imperative for India to have an effective infrastructure backed by an equally effective workforce to address the medical needs of people and also to raise their level of health education and literacy.
Importance of Health Education
Health education improves the status of the overall health of an individual and community, ultimately resulting in the better overall health of the nation. Health education is directly related to a nation’s economic growth, as a better health education results in a high life expectancy and raised standards of living.
Who Provides Health Education
Health Education is provided by trained professionals known as – health educators. They have certified specialists holding a certificate in public health or on a specific health issue. The workforce of Public health education constitutes of doctors, paramedics, and the nursing staff. They are trained in areas of health and hygiene and also are well equipped with the necessary resources to reach out to people and educate them. Many professionals from different fields too, volunteer to provide health education to masses after going a required amount of training.
The motive of Health Education
Health education aims at improving the health condition of an individual and a community. It teaches an individual a way to stay healthy and remain safe from diseases. It also aims at developing them a sense of responsibility towards themselves as well as towards the community.
Health education is very significant in developing nations. It imparts to the people, the basic health knowledge about health and hygiene, by shaping their day to day activities. Moreover, other than physical health, health education also aims for addressing other serious issues like stress, depression or other emotional disturbances.
India’s Stand on Health Education
In recent years there has been an increasing trend in non-medical professional institutes in India, offering public health programs to the students. Today around 23 institutes in India today offer a Master in Public Health with an annual enrollment of 573 candidates.
School Health Program was launched by the Government of India in 2009, with the aim of addressing the health needs of school-going children. The program not only caters to the physical well being of school-going children but also to their emotional, psychological and nutritional needs. Every year huge funds from the centre and states are allocated for the programs which benefit millions of students from marginalized sections of the society.
The Pradhanmantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PSSY) was also launched in 2003, with the aim of making tertiary healthcare services affordable to the masses and also to improve the quality of medical education.
Despite various government programs regarding improving and promoting quality of health education in India, many still don’t have access to basic healthcare services and are out of the reach of public health educators, due to the lack of necessary infrastructure at ground level. Many programs aimed at raising public awareness about AIDS, cancer, malaria, etc, failed to build the necessary infrastructure at the grass-root level. In order to make health education in India a success, there is a need for adequate infrastructure and well trained and equipped workforce.