- It is an art because it has practical application that is applied by the people.
- It deals with the behavioral aspect of the individual, family and community or group.
- Health education is also a science which has scientific basis that having the guiding principles or logical reasoning.
- It is both art and science which has both art and science reasoning with practical application to the behaviour of the people or community.
List of Principles of Health Education
- Learning by doing
- Known to unknown
- Setting an Example
- Public relation
- The message of health education should be trustworthy for the recipient.
- The message must be based on knowledge, facts consistent with compatibility.
- The compatibility must be with the scientific knowledge, and compatible with local culture, educational system and social goals.
- Otherwise people do not proceed for desired action.
- The psychological principles of people is to give less importance (unlike to listen) which are not to their interest.
- It is valuable that the health teaching should be relate to people based interest other wise the desired result could not be attained.
- Therefore the health needs of the people must be based on real need and disseminated accordingly.
- Participation is the key word in health education and it is a psychological principle based on active learning.
- People must participate in the different phase or process health education activities with health workers to achieve the common objectives/goals.
- People’s participation encourage the people to identify their health needs and prioritize them and finding the appropriate solution as well.
- A high degree of participation tends to create a sense of involvement, personal acceptance and directing for decision making process.
- This means it provides maximum feedback. As Alma-Ata declaration stated that “the people have a right and duty to participate individually and collectively in the planning and implementation of their health care.”
- The lesser community participation the will be higher degree of failure of health programs.
- Every person there is fundamental desire to learn.
- Growth/ awakening this desire is called motivation.
- Generally there are two types of motives. Primary motives are physiological needs such as sex, hunger, water, air and survival. These are called intrinsic driving force that people initiating into action. These motives are also called inborn desires.
- Secondary motives are based on desired created by outside forces or external forces /incentives. These are called social drives.
- So the motivation is an important factor in health education and motivation must be based on the need of the people or community.
- The motivation is essential in health education which is done for change the behaviour of the people.
- Motivation process is a contagious that transforms the behaviour to the other people.
- First we know the level of understanding, literacy or education level of the people that whom the health message is to be communicated.
- So the core idea of comprehension is the communication of health message should be based on intellectual capacity of the people or community.
- It will ease to make the message understandable and meaningful.
- Therefore the health education should be provided in local language with clear, precise and simple language.
- It also indicates the teaching should be on the mental capacity of the people.
- Health education is a continuous process and not a one shot mechanism.
- Very few people can learn new thing in single attempt of course but most of the people can’t. Therefore multiple attempts are necessary.
- That means repetition is essential in a certain time interval.
- In other words, this multiple attempts are called reinforcement in health education. T
- The reinforcement is not provided then a person goes back in pre-awareness stage.
- This is a kind of back up process in health education.
- The message given repeatedly for the same group of people, they remember it easily and practice the newly adopted behaviors and when the reinforcement is stopped then people go back in pre-awareness stage from awareness stage.
Learning by doing
- Learning is an action oriented process.
- When a person act by himself or herself they learn better and this type of learning is long term memorable.
- So people learn by themselves they learn more by doing themselves.
- It is relevant to quote the Chinese proverb.
- “ if I hear I forget; if I see I remember and if I do I know.”
Known to unknown
- Health education is a systematic process of knowledge; develop positive attitudes for shaping the behaviour and act positively resulting healthy lifestyle.
- So in health education, work must be proceed from concrete to abstract, simple to complex, easy to difficult, particular to general, and known to unknown.
- These are the guiding rule in health teaching learning.
- It is better to start from the peoples level of knowledge (where they stand) and then proceed to new knowledge.
- Such process will ease people to know the new knowledge in better ways. Always starts from the existing knowledge of the community.
Setting an example
- Health education is based on practicability. Learner knows better by practice or by setting example.
- Health educator must be aware when giving example.
- Whatever you are illustrating, people will learn as an example.
- Therefore you must give examples in such a way that exemplified behaviour could adopt by the people in a healthful manner.
- The healthful manner concerns that they are not hazardous to the people’s health.
- The health educator should be present as a model.
Good relation with people provides an opportunity to work in easy environment.
- Feedback is one of the key concepts of the system approach.
- It helps to modify the communication and very essential for effective communication.
- So health education wants to know from the people or community.
- It measures the people’s behaviour in realities base.
- Leaders are the key persons of the community.
- We learn best from the people, always learn from the people and always learn for the people.
- This is established by the psychologist.
- Health worker penetrate in the community through the community leaders (social workers, teachers, traditional healers, local political leader, etc).
- The leaders have the capacity to mobilize the people and people trust them.
- These leaders are the key approach of the community program intervention.
- Leaders have much and better knowledge about the community in all dimensions.
- Therefore the first task is to motivate leaders and the rest of work is to be easy.
Adhikari is a founder of publichealthglobe.com and a public health enthusiast aiming to create an impact on the community all across the globe. A true believer of Prevention is better than cure.