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New policies and approaches of health education in primary health care in attaining the objectives of health for all/2000.
IN TOUCH 1991 Mar; 10(98):34-6.This overview of what the WHO Alma Ata Declaration is and how the objectives translate to policy in the structure of health education involves manpower development, professional level training, community involvement, mass media, and related research. Alma Ata identified health education as the first of 8 essential activities in primary health care (PHC). Policy failures in health education included the inability to live up to expectations, the targeting of programs to specific diseases, and to the inappropriate conceptualization of community participation as a process which can be centrally controlled. Other factors were the gap in understanding the relationship between socioeconomic development and health, weak national structure which provided inadequate demonstration of health education project results, the inability of health education to solve individual problems such as working conditions or environmental pollution, and the lack of multisectoral cooperation. In order to achieve the Alma Ata objectives health education must be an agent of social change. Primary health care (PHC) - health education, development of a patient's educational skills, needs to be incorporated into the formal curricula of medical and nursing programs, as well as informal training, planning, and practice among rural and agricultural developers, public health engineers, and educators. Health workers need training in use of appropriate technology and in bridging the gap between the community and existing health care systems. The mass media needs to emphasize basic health necessities, and the importance of health, and solutions to problems. Broad public participation including voluntary organizations is necessary to the multisectoral approach. Research needs to be disseminated to administrators.