Health Education

Health education is any combination of learning experiences designed to help individuals and communities improve their health, by increasing their knowledge or influencing their attitudes. Health education is a profession of educating people about health.  Areas within this profession encompass environmental health, physical health, social health, emotional health, intellectual health, and spiritual health, as well as sexual and reproductive health education.

Health education can be defined as the principle by which individuals and groups of people, learn to behave in a manner conducive to the promotion, maintenance, or restoration of health. However, as there are multiple definitions of health, there are also multiple definitions of health education. The Joint Committee on Health Education and Promotion Terminology of 2001 defined Health Education as "any combination of planned learning experiences based on sound theories that provide individuals, groups, and communities the opportunity to acquire information and the skills needed to make quality health decisions."  The World Health Organization defined Health Education as "comprising of consciously constructed opportunities for learning involving some form of communication designed to improve health literacy, including improving knowledge, and developing life skills which are conducive to individual and community health."


Mainly methods have been classified into three main groups according to the number of people who are willing to get health education.

1. Individual Method:

This method involves person to person or faces to face communication which provides maximum opportunity for two way flow of idea, knowledge and information. Adequate interaction between the health educator and his client help provide health education successfully resulting in attitude and expected behavior change. Way of successful individual health education method  are counselling and interview.

2. Group Method:

An ideal group may consist of six or twelve members depending upon situation. This small group also can get some opportunity to ask questions and share ideas, information and experiences. In spite of the advantage of individual methods  for health education cannot be use due to the time limitation and shortage of manpower.  So it will be more practicable for him to provide education in group as well.  Group method include-
·         Group discussion.
·         Demonstration.
·         Mini-lecture.
·         Problem solving.
·         Brain storming.
·         Panel discussion.
·         Role play.
·         Simple teaching aids
·         Field trip/ educational tour/ campaign.
·         Workshop/seminar.
·         Symposium.
·         Public Speaking

3. Mass Media Method:

This method is especially meant for a large number of heterogeneous people. Mass method includes-
·         Lecture.
·         Exhibition.
·         Audio aid – radio cassette player.
·         Video aid- posters, pamphlets, flip chart, flannel graph, butte tin board etc.
·         Audio- visual aids such as television, film& sound, videotape movies.

Scope Of Health Education:
Health Education is a very vast term. It has a very wide scope. It is dependent and closely related to many other aspects, besides health. These aspects include housing, economic security, agricultural or industrial prosperity etc. Normally, health education includes the following:
·         1. Food and its importance in the development of human body.
·         2. Water, air, light, physical exercise, recreation, rest and sleep, etc.
·         3. Abnormal conditions and bad habits. Their adverse effect on the physical and mental health of an individual.
·         4. Various ailments and diseases. Their causes and ways and means of their prevention and cure.
·         5. Mental health, sex hygiene, domestic and community hygiene.
·         6. Emergency and first aid.
Health Education In India:
India aspires to be a superpower by 2030. However, the 1.2 billion-strong population, its biggest strength and one of the key parameters of development, can well become the Achilles’ heel. Lack of quality healthcare services is a key concern for a majority of Indians, triggered by insufficient number of doctors catering to public health needs and poor state of healthcare education in the country. Healthcare education can particularly be a driving force in making people aware and provide them with relevant information and enabling them to make the best health choices.  What is healthcare education? Simply speaking, healthcare education encompasses the formal training received by the medical and allied healthcare staff in medical colleges. However, we often stop at that. Healthcare education in India is largely synonymous to medical training and educating the people to help them take informed decision often slips away: Making the people aware of their health needs and risks, payment options to reduce their out-of-pocket medical expense, etc. are some of the aspects on which even a well-educated, city-bred person may need some help. 

India must utilise the access its community health workers (Anganwadi and Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers) enjoy to inform and assure people of the options they have, failing which even the best technology and most efficient staff will fall short of making an impact. Need a multipronged approach towards training medical corps For the medical training providers, the most important criterion to adhere to is the quality of education. However, cost is a bigger factor for the aspirants. India has 492 medical colleges, out of which 233 are government-owned and produce around 62,960 MBBS doctors. While aspirants hoard at the government medical colleges offering subsidised education, the lack of infrastructural upgrade is a major concern. Private medical colleges have better infrastructure but charge a higher fee. But no institution can teach an aspiring doctor to be empathetic towards the need of people. As a result, the mandatory rural posting is often considered as a compulsory dose of quinine rather than an opportunity to gather first hand information for a better service.


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