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PERCIEVED IMPACT OF HEALTH EDUCATION ON COMMUNITY HEALTH AWARENESS
This study sought to determine the perceived impact of health education on community health awareness among residents of Ezillo community in Ishielu local government of Ebonyi State. The variables studied were health promotion, preventive measures, treatment of disorder awareness. The study adopted three specific purposes and three research questions based on the variables to guide the investigation. The design was descriptive survey design and the 399 respondents were sampled through the use of multi-stage sampling method the strata stratification and convenience sampling techniques, data were generated using structured questionnaire. The result were analyzed using mean 2.5 as criterion mean. The study found that health education enhanced health promotion awareness by encouraging eating healthy diet, (3.45) positive changes in behaviour, (3.13) avoidance of drugs, (3.17) safe sex promotion. Findings also shows that health education enhanced preventive measures and treatment disorders, awareness encouraging exercise, counselling, immunization, and rehabilitations among residents of Ezillo community in Ishielu local government of Ebonyi State. The study concluded that promoted community health awareness among resident of Ezillo community in Ishielu local government of Ebonyi State therefore the sudy recommended that government sustain the provision of health educators who will continue to sensitize the resident of the community about health and their well being.
Health education is the process of educating people about health. Areas within this profession encompass environmental health, physical health, mental health and spiritual health. Health education can as well be said to be the principle by which individuals and groups of people learn to behave in a manner conducive to the promotion, maintenance or restoration of health. Health education is the process of combining learning experiences designed to help individual and communities improve their health, by increasing their knowledge or influencing their attitudes.
According to Stressbusters (2001), health education is one of the strategy of health promotion and is focused on helping individuals learn and use health enhancing skills. He further states that health education is also an effective tool that helps improve health in developing nations. It does not only teaches prevention and basic health knowledge but also conditions ideas that reshape everyday habits of people with unhealthy lifestyles in developing countries.
The Joint Committee on Health Education and Promotion Terminology (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 (2000) 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 skill which are conducive to individual and community health. There are aspects of health education which includes: family health education, personal health education, community health education and many others.
Family health education service is the process of educating members of a given family about health. Personal health education is a planned program of learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives.
Community health education is a theory driven process that promotes health and prevents disease within certain target populations in the community. Community health education according to World Health Organization (2004) is geared toward creating health awareness down to the rural dwellers. This study is geared toward establishing the importance of health education on community health awareness among resident of Ezillo community in Ishielu local government area. Community health is a field which concerns itself with the study and improvement of health characteristics of biological communities. While the term community can broadly be defined, community health tends to focus on geographical areas rather than people with shared characteristics. The health characteristics of a community are often examined using geographical information system (GIS) software and public health data sets. Health is broadly defined as wellbeing which is generally influenced by a wide away of socio-demographic characteristics, certain relevant variables ranging from the proportion of residents of a given age group to the overall life expectancy of the neighborhood, and community medical interventions influence health of a community like Ezillo. They influence access to medical care to public health communications campaigns (WHO, 2000, p. 2). Community health may be studied within three broad categories which are: primary health care, secondary health care and tertiary health care.
Primary health care refers to intervention that focus on the individual or family such as hand washing, immunization, circumcision among others. Secondary health care service are provided by medical specialists and other professionals who generally do not have first contact with patients, for example cardiologists, urologists (National Hospital for Neurology, London 2012). Tertiary health care on the other hand refers to those interventions that take place in a hospital setting such as intravenous rehydration or surgery (Johns Hopkins, 2004). There are components of community health which includes; promotion of health, prevention of health problems, treatment of disorders, and provision of rehabilitation, evaluation of health care issues and community research and evidence based practice.
Health promotion includes educational, social and environmental supports for individual, organizational and community action. It seeks to activate local organizations and groups or individuals to make changes in behavior or policies that influences health (Wall, 2009). Prevention of health as the case of social health, the need will surface at the three levels of prevention; primary prevention, secondary prevention and tertiary prevention.
Primary prevention activities for mental and social health could include personal stress management strategies such as exercise and meditation, or school and workplace educational classes to enhance the mental health of the people. A secondary prevention strategy could include the staffing of a crisis hot line by local organizations such as health department or mental health center (Brown, 2004). In the words of Stressburts (2001), tertiary prevention might take the form of the local medical and mental health specialists and health care facilities providing individual and group counselling and rehabilitation.
Treatment of disorders varies, for personality disorders, it is diagnosed until the individual is a young adult, often not until 20’s or even 30’s. Most individuals with personality disorders lead normal lives and only seek psychotherapeutic treatment during stress (Psych central, 1995). Childhood disorders often labeled as developmental disorders or learning disorders, most often occur and are diagnosed when the child is of school age (Psych central, 1995). Generally, treatment is best guided by a psychiatrist skilled in treating health disorders (Mayo, 2010). You may have a treatment team that also includes a psychologists, health workers and psychiatric nurse. Depending on your needs, treatment may include; initial treatment, continued treatment, substance abuse treatment, and hospitalization.
According to Mayo (2010), initial treatment is when you start taking medications to balance your moods right away. Once your symptoms are under control, you will work with your doctor to find the best long term treatment. He further said that continued treatment is a lifelong treatment, even during periods when you feel better. Substance abuse treatment is when you have problems with alcohol or drugs, you will also need substance abuse treatment. Hospitalization is when you are behaving dangerously, you feel suicidal or you become detached from reality (psychotic), then you will be admitted to the hospital.
Rehabilitation embodies the entire continuation of care needed to help you regain your independence after injury or illness (Orlando institute, 2014). In the words of Banner (2013), rehabilitation often is a key component of the healing process. A facility will be provided for patients with orthopedic injuries and disorders, neurological disorders, spinal cord and brain injuries and many others.
Evaluation method of health care service seeks to provide an understanding of why an improvement initiative has or has not worked and how it can be improved in the future (Parry, etal 2013). In the words of Rands (2004), evaluating performance of health care programs operates in diverse settings, identifying opportunities for improvement and understanding the needs of both patients and providers.
Community research and evidenced based practice has help in promoting community healthy life, by preventing disease and injury, improving health and enhancing quality of life (Graml, etal 2010). In the words of Victoria (2000), evidence based practice usually refers to gathering quantitative data upon which to base decisions about what constitutes effective or efficient practice or what is sometimes called “best practice”. He further argue that, when gathering evidence about practice concerning people in communities which is often the case in the health sector, different evidence is needed and consequently different methods will be used. Community based research is based on a philosophy of participatory paradigm (Heron & Reson, 1997).
The main objective of health awareness is to provide health related knowledge to the people for preventing and curing disease (Brown, 2010). There are some people who are completely irresponsible, they do not know their responsibility as to taking care of themselves. This people do not have any known disease but yet they cannot be considered healthy (Wall, 2009, p.133). For providing health awareness, health education programmes and promotion are organized that can help in promoting a healthy community environment (Wall, 2009, p. 150)
The situation of community health in Ezillo is such that needs urgent government intervention. According to Mrs. Ukpai (health worker), they are several health issues in Ezillo community, these are; maternal mortality rate, poor health facilities, premature birth, malaria in pregnancy, poor sanitation, mentally disorder and many others. Base on the current situation, there is need for community health education in Ezillo which will dwell much on the pregnant women and their babies to reduce the health related issues to its bearest minimum.
The success of community health programs depends on the transfer of information from health professionals to the general public using one to one or one to many approach. Educational and community based programs play a key role in preventing disease and injury, improving health, enhancing quality of life (Graml, 2010).
Health status and related behaviors are determined by influences at multiple levels; “personal organizational institution, environmental and policy”. Because significant and dynamic interrelationship exist among these different levels of health determinants, educational and community based programs are most likely to succeed in improving health and wellness when they address influences at all levels and in a variety of environment settings. According to Graml, Castillo, (2010), educational and community based programs and strategies played an important role in reaching healthy people in Ezillo community, over the next decades they will continue to contribute to the improvements of health outcomes in the said community area. This education and community based programs and strategies are designed to reach people outside of traditional health care settings, these may include; schools, worksites, village square, market, church, community meetings and many others. Each settings provides opportunities to reach people using existing social structures this maximizes impact and reduces the time and resources necessary for program development and these can be achieved through community health workers. Using nontraditional settings can help encourage informal information sharing within communities through peer social interaction and related mass media. Reaching out to people in different setting also allows for greater tailoring of health information and education. Educational and community based programs encourage and enhance health and wellness by educating communities on topics as; chronic diseases, injury and violence prevention, mental illness, unwanted pregnancy, substance abuse, mal-nutrition, and physical inactivity.
It is therefore for these reasons that the researcher embark on these study to determine the perceived impact of health education in Ezillo community in creating community health awareness.
It is generally accepted that health education is the profession of educating people about health. Also it is viewed as any combination of planned learning experiences based on sound theories that provides individuals the opportunity to acquire information about health decisions and status. However health education has been practiced in the urban areas over the years without bringing it down to the rural communities, evidently it is clear that greater death rate is traced from the rural domains because of people’s lack of health sensitization and awareness (Institute of Medicine, Washington, 2003).
Therefore, the study embarked on to find out the extent to which people in Ezillo community applies health education on related health issues and also identifying the issues in community health.
The main purpose of this study was to identify the perceived impact of health education in creating community health awareness among people of Ezillo community. Specifically, the study intended to:
1. Determine the perceived impact of health education on health promotion awareness among residents of Ezillo community.
2. Determine the perceived impact of health education on awareness of preventive measures of health issues among residents of Ezillo community.
3. Ascertain perceived impact of health education on awareness of treating disorder methods among residents of Ezillo community.
This research study is undertaken to buttress the impact of health education on community health awareness among residents of Ezillo community. The study will be beneficial to health policy makers, health workers in Ezillo community, community members in Ezillo and the government.
This research work will be beneficial to the community members in the sense that it will serve as a source of information on how to improve quality of health care delivery services that will enhance good standard of living, and make community members cope and get on with their normal lives. Also this research will enable community members gain knowledge and enlightenment on how to handle certain health issues they may not have had a previous knowledge about, which will enable them to strategize on how to combat the health issues facing the community.
The health policy makers will benefit from the findings of the study. It might help them to know area of community health where health education intervention needs to be intensified. Based on these, they can make policies to favor this area.
This research work will be of great importance to the government on the need to put certain factors into consideration, such as social and cultural factors of community members in the administration of health services. This will help health practitioners to better understand their patients when embarking on health education, and provide improved forms of health care services in other to enhance quality health condition.
This study is delimited to perceived impact of health education on community awareness among residents of Ezillo community in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The study covered the impact of health education on promotion of awareness, preventive awareness and treating disorder. The occupants of the community (male and female) formed the subjects of the study.
Bearing in mind the problem which the researcher intended to solve as well as the purpose which the research study intended to achieve, the following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
1. What is the perceived impact of health education on health promotion awareness among residents of Ezillo community?
2. What is the perceived impact of health education on awareness of preventive measures of health issues among residents of Ezillo community?
3. What is perceived impact of health education on awareness of treating disorder methods among residents of Ezillo community?