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    Peer Reviewed

    Teaching health professionals to teach.

    Grant JP


    One of the most pressing problems in the health system is the lag between modern knowledge and its use in the community. This is caused by the inadequate scientific study of methods to apply this knowledge to society, and the poor training of health personnel to apply these methods. These failures are illustrated every day by the death of 50,000 people, mostly children under 5 years, from causes that are preventable at low costs. The medical education system is primarily responsible for what is taught and how it is taught, and yet less than 1% of the this education is related to community health and broad health education. Social organization is the key to efficiency of health protection and use of medical knowledge. The mass media and increasing communications development with modern marketing have allowed social organization at reasonable cost. Changes in human behavior can prevent most health problems and premature deaths. There are examples of how growth monitoring, oral rehydration therapy, breast feeding promotion, immunization, family planning, and female literacy have saved millions of children. There is now a global recognition that healthy children and healthy families are the foundation for national development. International goals are to reduce mortality rates for children under 5 to 70/1000, eliminate polio, have universal primary education, have less than 1% malnutrition, and promote water supply expansion and sanitation. There is also a need for better recordings of births and deaths and, especially in developing countries, low cost methods of collecting data are needed. Medical education needs to use the full range of resources, and students need to learn to promote health as well as treat diseases. Medical schools in consideration of primary health care must revise curricula to achieve a balanced education in the community, and students should be taught in a variety of environments from rural health areas to urban institutions.
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