Principles of Health Education


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This presentation deals with the main concepts in the practice of Health Education.


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Copies of presentations can be obtained by contacting Dr Deryck D. Pattron at for further information.

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Presentation Transcript

Principles of Health Education : 

Principles of Health Education Dr. Deryck D. Pattron, Ph.D. 1

Health, Illness & Behaviour : 

Health, Illness & Behaviour Knowledge of healthy and unhealthy behaviour is a prerequisite to health work. Dangers to health: Living things: e.g. bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, can enter the body through contact, ingestion, inhalation, bites, and scratches. Non-living things: e.g. contact, inhalation exposure to poisonous chemicals and substances. Natural event: e.g. floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Man made environments: e.g. overcrowded houses, poorly constructed roads, and buildings. 2

Unhealthy or healthy behaviour is associated with our own actions! : 

Unhealthy or healthy behaviour is associated with our own actions! People actions can keep them healthy or make them ill. Washing hands with soap, kills bacteria. Mosquito nets and insect sprays help keep disease carrying mosquitoes at bay. protecting fires reduces the risk of burns. Keeping poisonous chemical securely locked away prevents accidental injection by children. 3

Understanding Behaviour : 

Understanding Behaviour Many reasons why people behave the way they do: Thoughts and feelings. Knowledge. Beliefs. Attitudes. 4

Thoughts and feelings : 

Thoughts and feelings We as individuals have many different kinds of thoughts and feelings about the world. These thoughts and feelings are molded by : Knowledge. Beliefs. Attitudes. Values. Resources. 5

Knowledge : 

Knowledge Comes from one’s own experience or the experiences of others. 6

Beliefs : 

Beliefs Usually acquired from our parents, relatives, friends, and other respected people. Represent something accepted on faith not on objective evidence. Can be either true or false, but no proof is sought. Every country or community has its own beliefs. Beliefs constitute part of the way people live. Can be helpful, harmful or neutral. How does a particular belief affect a person’s health? 7

Attitudes : 

Attitudes Positive State of mind. Reflects our likes and dislikes. Come from our own experiences or the experiences of others. Negative Comes from other people’s experiences. Situations do not allow us to behave according to our attitudes. Sometimes based on limited experiences. 8

Values : 

Values Thoughts and feeling we attach the most worth, importance and desirability. E.g. welfare of children. E.g. People who are important to us. 9

Resources : 

Resources Availability of resources, such as human resources and skills, money and time. E.g. The health service is an important resource. 10

Culture : 

Culture The normal behaviours, beliefs, values and uses of resources in a community form a pattern or way of life. Normal behaviour is deeply rooted in culture. Culture defines who we are and what we become and make of our lives. Each culture has its own way of doing things and has its own system of beliefs. No culture is considered right or wrong. 11

Changes in Behaviour : 

Changes in Behaviour All communities may have many kinds of behaviour that promote health, prevent diseases and aid in the rehabilitation of the sick. Positive behaviours should be encouraged and people should continue to practice them. Negative behaviours that are destructive to health should be discouraged. Sometimes the results of negative behaviours serve as a deterrent to unhealthy behaviours. 12

Understanding the difficulty people have in making improvements in their lives : 

Understanding the difficulty people have in making improvements in their lives Natural change: Behavioural change due to natural events e.g. changes in the community or changes without any conscious thought. Planned change: plans to improve some aspect of our lives. Readiness to change e.g. not everyone facing a similar situation is willing to change at the same time. People change at different times. 13

Helping people to change their behaviour : 

Helping people to change their behaviour Three ways people can help other people: Force-threaten punishment (least applied by health educators, but may become necessary through the use of legislation). Information-helps people make informed choices to improve people’s health and lives. Discuss problems-getting ideas on the best way to solve problems. 14

Health education : 

Health education Understanding problems and helping people to resolve problems for themselves. Promoting healthy behaviour. A persons behaviour is not only the main cause of the problem, but the main solution to the problem. Encourages behaviour that promote health, prevents illness, cures disease and facilitates rehabilitation. 15

Critical Thinking 2 : 

Critical Thinking 2 Think of an important health problem in your area. What behaviour helps cause and spread the problem? What behaviour prevents it? 16

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