Expert: Health literacy investment needed hinh anh 1Prof Dr Ming Che Tsai, president of the Asian Health Literacy Association, presents major trauma management methods at the event (Photo: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) - Investment in health literacy would be a useful initiative in Vietnam and other ASEAN countries to help reach health goals, according to Asian Health Literacy Association.

“Enhancing health literacy will be particularly essential to provide outstanding healthcare services, to fill in the gap between the patients and healthcare providers,” Prof. Dr. Peter Wu Shou Chang, the association’s general secretary said at Thu Duc District Hospital’s annual science and technology conference held at the weekend.

The development of adequate and satisfactory health literacy becomes more critically needed in modern societies, especially in societies at which people wanted to last their lives long without significant burdens of diseases, Chang said.

“Health literacy serves to empower individuals, patients, their families and communities on all health issues, including reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health, infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases, mental health, road safety and preventing unintentional poisoning and injuries,” he added.

It also helps to strengthen the health systems and health care services in countries, he said.

Health literacy helps individuals keep healthy behaviours; maintain and promote health status; reduce latency of fully-developed disorders; minimize the side-effects and burdens of post-acute illnesses; facilitate early rehabilitation and comprehensive recovery from diseases.

It is developed through families, early education and informal life-long learning, shaped by continuous exposure of individuals with health information and healthcare organisations.

Eventually, the status of health literacy in individuals can protect and ensure they understand when, where, and how to communicate with healthcare providers, and to develop productive communication with healthcare providers, and support the individuals and families as well as the society to become a good manager of health, he added.

Waiting for two hours or more at hospitals for health examinations and treatment is unavoidable and common at many hospitals, especially overcrowded ones, Chang said, and suggested that hospital managers should think about how to provide health education to patients while they wait.

He advised that there are many different ways to provide education. For instance, exciting videos to guide disease prevention or common knowledge about health problems should be shown on televisions in waiting areas.

One study on health literacy and its impact on the quality of healthcare services among patients with type 2 diabetes at Thu Duc District Hospital showed that empowering patients via improvement of health literacy enables health-friendly environments, better self-care with fewer health risks, and lower healthcare costs.

The conference also heard about many scientific research reports in the fields of administration, surgeries, obstetrics, nutrition, public health, anaesthetic and recovery.-VNa