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Opinions of Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Columnist: Evans Kyeremeh

What is your health literacy state?

A Professor of medicine once said, “If everyone read a little of human anatomy and physiology in high school or higher education, there would be a decreased incidence of diseases.” - People would take good care of themselves if they read about their body, their condition, and other medical issues.

Health literacy, best defined as the ability of individuals to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. The health literacy of any population depends on various factors including among others, poor communication skills, insufficient knowledge on health topics, culture, other topics competing for people’s attention. Relevant, accessible, accurate and easily understandable health information would help to increase health literacy, and ultimately improve the overall quality of health of any population.

Sir Muir Gray, former Director of the UK NHS National Knowledge Service reiterated the importance of health literacy. "Knowledge is the enemy of disease,” he said, “the application of what we know will have a bigger impact than any drug or technology likely to be introduced in the next decade”. Health literacy undoubtedly has many benefits.

In general, people are able to effectively navigate through the system in any health center, including filling out complex forms, locating providers and services, sharing personal information such as clinical history to clinicians, and other healthcare professionals as the need may be. In addition, people are able to engage in proper self-care and adhere to chronic-disease management through effective health literacy. People are also well-informed with certain medical concepts and terms, such as probability, risk, mortality, morbidity among others, which may be basic to understanding certain various health principles.

Over the years, low literacy in health among Ghanaians has led to poor overall quality of life resulting from but not limited to, poor personal fitness, poor environmental hygiene, as well as activities that endanger the health of Ghanaians such as medication non-adherence, medication overdose and drug abuse generally.

Recently, the Centre for Disease Control confirmed that a person’s health literacy rate largely affects their health. Patients with low health information generally;

Are more likely to have an emergency room visit
Have more hospital stay

Are less likely to follow treatment plans and
Have higher mortality rates

This is how deadly it can be when a person lacks proper knowledge in basic health and medical concepts and information.

Considering the benefits of health literacy, and the deadly outcomes associated with inadequacy of it, it’s surprising that many Ghanaians have little or no literacy of their health. It may seem the average Ghanaian has little concern about their health, but it’s very not true. Ghanaians care much about their health!! Considering the recent eruption of keep-fit clubs, it is clear that many Ghanaians are very meticulous about their health. The reason many Ghanaians are ignorant about their health is hugely burden on the lack of a credible platform to provide relevant and accessible information on their health. While there is a major growth in the health information portals in various advanced countries, it is otherwise in Ghana, and many other developing countries. A Google search for any health related issues shows only information from the United States, the United Kingdom and the other developed countries. Every medical professional would attest that the medical information such as disease prevalence, incidence and the general epidemiology in such countries are sharply different from that of developing countries like Ghana. This means information on the health of such countries cannot be directly applied to Ghana and the other developing countries.

MedCircles aims to bridge this information gap by providing reliable, accurate and relevant health information to Ghanaians and people from other developing countries.

MedCircles

MedCircles, has a vision to engineer a medically informed society. It is the first online platform in Ghana dedicated to health news, medical research publications, op-end articles, interviews and latest to be added a disease library. We have assembled a team of qualified health professionals made of medical doctors, nurses, scientists, physiotherapist, dietitians, occupational therapist and researchers among others.

MedCircles provides simple, accurate and informative health and medical information purposely to educate the Ghanaians on the hazards they expose themselves to by engaging in certain lifestyles. It is the desire of the leadership of MedCircles to continue the advocacy for disease prevention, patient safety, quality healthcare and evidence-based medical health care. This would lead to good health, which result in improved wealth creation and ultimately leading to a boost in the socio-economic development of Ghana, and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

What we publish!
Medical News
Health News
Medical research updates
Expert opinion in various health fields
Disease Library (Epidemiology, care and treatment of diseases in Ghana and Africa)
Partnership

Our initiative, MedCircles, Ghana's most authentic and most visited medical information portal has served so well many Ghanaian citizens and aliens alike. It is our vision to engineer a medically informed society and it is our pressure to admonish the continue increase in readership on MedCircles and the general admiration of the initiative.

We are aware of the challenges with monetizing webpages with paid adverts on readers and so do not intend to implement any to distract our readers attention. Also unlike many other sites of our kind, we haven’t put up a paywall to restrict content to paid subscribers. Yet we want to keep our writers, editors, reviewers who out of their busy schedule produce our content motivated. Also, to make our content safe and accessible on the internet require money and hard work so we seek partnership support from abled companies, persons and groups to partner us in making our vision a reality.

With support, be in kind or in cash, we will be able to bring out more innovative and inspiring content that will advance the public health education agenda and together eliminate most diseases and make our society safe with people enjoying healthy life.

We believe that together we can engineer a medically informed society!!!

Written by Evans Kyeremeh, MLS

Team Lead for MedCircles and a Quality Healthcare Advocate
Phone: 0240352524

Email: e.kyeremeh@mmassociatesltd.com

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