WHO Europe: Health Literacy to Tackle Health Challenges
As a part of WHO Europe’s scale up in health literacy activities to tackle public health challenges, a training was held in Moscow, Russia for 9 Eastern European and Central Asian Countries on November 6-7, 2019. It focused on developing, implementing and evaluating national health literacy projects focused on tackling noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
Research has found higher rates of health literacy has been found to improve overall population health while low health literacy leads to worse health outcomes.
Health literacy is one of the means to get sustainable changes and to support and empower people and systems at all levels of society – decision-makers, organizations, communities and individuals – to make healthy choices and avoid NCDs,” says Dr Bente Mikkelsen, Director of the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Promoting Health through the Life-course at WHO/Europe.
The training enabled representatives from the 9 countries to:
- evaluate country-level health literacy initiatives to support existing or planned work in the area of NCD prevention and control and health promotion across the life course;
- discuss the co-design of concrete health literacy projects in areas such as ensuring healthy diets in schools and tackling diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Co-design involves bringing together medical authorities and members of the community for the development of health literacy projects.
Outcomes of the workshop will also inform the activities of the WHO Action Network on Health Literacy – launched in January 2019 – for Prevention and Control of NCDs, which provides a platform for communication and collaboration among experts from different countries.