This October, LiveBeyond is highlighting Health Literacy Month. You might be wondering why we feel it’s so important that all women have access to quality maternal health care and maternal health education. The answer is simple: it’s because health literacy matters and ensures a better future for generations to come! To understand why health literacy matters, let’s start with some basic facts about maternal mortality in Haiti.
Health literacy is a critical component for all communities, but it’s especially important for those who work in health care. Providers need to be able to explain complex medical information to patients and their families in ways that are clear and understandable. Patients need to understand how their care fits into the larger context of their everyday lives—their family, job, finances and more.
Health literacy matters because when people have greater health literacy skills they are more likely to make decisions that align with their goals for staying healthy or managing a chronic condition.
Health literacy is the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information needed to make appropriate decisions regarding one’s health. It is a critical component of quality health care. Health literacy is important to all people, but especially for those with low literacy levels since they are at high risk of not understanding information provided by their healthcare providers.
Health literacy is a lifelong process that can be improved through education and learning experiences throughout life (Gottesman et al., 2009a).
Health literacy is the ability to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Health literacy is a critical component of health education. It encompasses a broad range of skills including understanding labels, consent forms and basic written information about medications as well as using these skills to access health services.
Health literacy involves five core components:
Health literacy is important because it allows people to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing. It helps individuals understand the information they are given by health providers, and helps them understand how to take care of themselves. Health literacy also means that people have access to all the necessary resources they need in order to stay healthy and make good choices when it comes to their health.
Health literacy is more than just understanding medical terms or knowing where your nearest emergency room is located; it’s a lifelong skill that improves over time as you learn more about topics like personal hygiene or nutrition. There’s no reason why someone should not be able to pick up this skill set—but we can’t do it alone! To keep everyone up-to-date with their health literacy skills, we need all members of society working together so everyone has equal access
“Health literacy is not the responsibility of the government alone. We must develop and strengthen partnerships among health providers, educators, communities, non-governmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations and other sectors.” (WHO)
Health literacy is not the responsibility of the government alone. We must develop and strengthen partnerships among health providers, educators, communities, non-governmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations and other sectors to address this health challenge.
Health Literacy Month provides an opportunity for you to help educate others about the importance of improving their health literacy skills. You might choose to host a community event that educates people about their options for accessing health information; organize a campaign at your workplace or school; volunteer at an organization offering free services in your community; or organize a fundraiser that raises funds used by local non-profit groups dedicated to improving access to medical care.
As a global health organization, LiveBeyond’s mission is to improve maternal & child health in Haiti. To do so, we train Haitians to be health educators who can teach women about maternal health. This month is a great time to highlight how our Community Health Workers program works and why it’s so important for mothers and their families.
There are many challenges when it comes to literacy in Haiti. Our CHWs work with communities by providing counseling and education on topics such as HIV/AIDS prevention, family planning, nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding support after the birth until 12 months postpartum. They also help with transportation costs for medical appointments if necessary; provide nutritional supplements; advocate for better access to healthcare services like prenatal visits or vaccinations for infants under 2 years old through local clinics/health centers; build relationships with other community members or leaders like school teachers & pastors who may be able to refer people from their communities back into our programs.
Here are some ways you can help:
Donate to the LiveBeyond Maternal Health & Community Healthcare Worker Program
Maternal health is a key component of health. Without maternal health, it is virtually impossible for a family to have access to basic hygiene, food, and clean water. The LiveBeyond Maternal Health Program aims to help families by providing education on how they can improve their own health through proper nutrition and hygiene practices. You can donate by visiting our website donation page.
One of the best ways you can help is by praying for mothers and their babies. As you pray, remember that it is God’s plan for every woman to have a healthy pregnancy and birth experience. In addition to your prayers, please consider making a donation to the LiveBeyond Maternal Health Program. Your donations help provide access to quality maternal health care, which can make all the difference in a woman’s life. To make an online donation today, click here.
As we move into the next month, I hope that you will continue to pray for and invest in women’s maternal health care. In Haiti, this means better access to quality healthcare for women and children. It also means caring for them as mothers and fathers, wives or husbands—and their families as well! As we work together with our partners on the ground who have been doing this work for years (even decades), we are reminded of how important it is to support each other in our mission of helping those who need it most.
Hear the latest news from Haiti, read posts about faith and community development, and find transcriptions from the LiveBeyond podcast.