The WHO Regional Office for Europe has just released a new publication entitled “Health Literacy” as part of the ‘Solid Facts’ series. Health literacy refers among other things to the ability of people to search for, understand and act upon health information. Health literacy therefore supports self-care and rationale use of medicines.
What are the capacities of a health-literate person? Box 4 page 23 writes: “Ideally, a health literate individual is able to seek and assess the health information required:
- to understand and carry out instructions for self-care, including administering complex daily medical regimens;
- to plan and achieve the lifestyle adjustments required for improving their health;
- to make informed positive health-decisions;
- to know how and when to access health care when necessary and
- to share health-promoting activities with others and address health issues in the community and society”.
This publication aims to increase the awareness that health literacy is an important determinant of good health and that it deserves attention in the public health and research agendas.