1. Discuss the basic principles of health education
2. Identify targets for health education
3. Determine levels of health education in disease
4. Mention different settings for health education
5. State roles of health educator
Principles of health education
The practice of health education is based on the
• Combination of planned, consistent, integrated
• In different settings
• Beneficial health behavior will result
The following are principles of health education
1. Principle of educational diagnosis
▪ The first task in changing behaviors is to determine the
causes of a health behaviour (predisposing, enabling
▪ Just as physicians must diagnose an illness before it can
be properly treated, so, too, must a behaviour be
diagnosed before it can be properly changed.
▪ If the causes of the behaviors understood, health educator
can intervene with the most appropriate and efficient
combination of education, reinforcement and motivation
2. Principle of Participation
• The view for success in any attempt to change behaviors
will be greater if the individuals, families, community
groups, as well as administrators and other community
members at community level have been participated.
• Personal involvement is more likely to lead to personal
Importance of Participation:
• identifying their own needs for behaviour change
• Selecting the educational methods that will enable them
• The participation of all community members is essential to
gain support and to use locally available resources.
3. Principle of multiple methods
• Human behavior can be very complex with multiple
• So in the effort to influence behavior, the Health
educator should use different educational methods
and a variety of media to conduct health education
• A mix of educational methods is important to hold
the attention of your audiences and convey the
messages to their best effect.
4. Principle of planning and organizing
• Unplanned health education sessions may well be a
waste of effort.
• Planning and organizing are fundamentals for health
education which distinguishes it from other incidental
• It involves deciding in advance the when, who, what,
how and why of health education.
• It also requires the planning for resources, methods and
materials to be used, identification of target groups etc.
• It should be organized based on scientific findings and
•Health education is given based on scientific
findings/facts and current knowledge.
•It is unthinkable to provide health education
without scientific knowledge related to the topic
or issues to be addressed.
6. Audience Segmentation
• Health education should be designed for the particular
target group of people you are hoping to reach.
• For example
• If you need to create awareness on prevention of
mother to child HIV/AIDS transmission (PMTCT) your
specific audience should be as many as possible of the
• If you want to create awareness on the role of males in
family planning services your target audience could be
married males and male adolescents.
• Such segmentation of your audience makes your health
education more effective.
7. Need- based assessment
• Health education is best implemented after the real
needs of the community have been assessed and
• Before involving any individual or group within your
community in health education activities you should
try and discover the felt needs of the community.
• Health education activity will be wasted in your
community if you have not found out about
• Health education should not consider formal learning process. To
offer new ideas with a natural ease and caution, one should become
familiar with the local culture.
• Health education should respect cultural norms and take account
of the economic and environmental constraints faced by people
• Therefore, Health education starts from where people are and
slowly build up the talking point to avoid any clash of ideas to allow
for people understanding, appreciation of new ideas.
Targets of health education
Every stage of life, every person or social group and all occupations are
appropriate targets of health education programs. Depending on the type
of the problem there are three broadly classified targets of health
▪ Individuals: this includes clients of services (contraceptive users),
patients (E.g. diabetic or hypertensive patients) and healthy
▪ Groups: includes gatherings of two or more people who have a
common interest. E.g. a family planning service for a couple a
youth club about HIV/AIDS
▪ Community: include a collection of people who have a feeling of
belongingness, and who usually share common values, culture,
beliefs and interests. E.g. a village community about the dangers of
The levels of health education in
There are three distinct levels of disease prevention in
health education: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary
Primary health education
• Is includes of those health education activities that aimed
specifically at prevent the onset of illness or injury before
the disease process begins
• Wearing safety belt
• Physical exercise
• Brushing one’s teeth
• Breast feeding
2. Secondary health education
• Once the disease occurred, health education is important to
slow down the disease progression to prevent the onset of
▪ Providing HE on adherence to medical regimen
▪ Educating ill person to seek treatment
▪ Breast-cancer screening
▪ Blood pressure examination
▪ Cholesterol level examination
▪ Treating malaria patients
Tertiary health education
• Health education programs that specifically
aimed at patients with irreversible, incurable,
and chronic condition for social and
psychological adjustment. It meant to avoid
major disability, premature death.
• Educating after lung cancer surgery
• Educating patients about the use of disability
aids and rehabilitation services
▪ School health education involves
instructing school-age children
about health and health-related
▪ School children are groups of young
people with similar background and
environment (segmented group).
▪ School based health promotion is
the most crucial approach needed
to improve the wellbeing of the
children and the adolescent.
▪ The work site health promotion
programs are of recent origin when
compared to other settings.
▪ Health promotion encourages worksites
to offer programs in:
▪ worker safety and health
▪ alcohol and smoking reduction
▪ blood pressure and cholesterol
education and control
▪ Majority of the activities reported at the
worksites are injury prevention, job
hazards, and smoking control.
2. Health education activities in worksites
▪ Health education for:
▪ high-risk individuals, patients, their
families, and the surrounding
community, as well as
▪ in-service training for health care
providers, are all part of health care
It focuses on
▪ Preventing and detecting disease
▪ Helping people make decisions about
▪ Managing acute and chronic illnesses.
3.Health education activities in health care
Health behaviour change
interventions are delivered to
people in their homes through:
▪ traditional public health means,
like home visits
▪ a variety of communication
channels and media such as
Internet, telephone, and mail.
4.Health education activities in homes
Role of health educator
1. Talking to the people and listening of their problems
2. Thinking of the behavior that could cause, cure and prevent these
3. Finding reasons for people’s behaviors (behavioral and non-behavioral)
4. Addressing social and environmental factors that can impact health, such
as poverty, access to healthcare, and environmental pollution.
5. Helping people to see the reasons for their actions and health problems.
6. Asking people to give their own ideas for solving the problems.
7. Helping people to look as their ideas so that they could see which were the
most useful and the simplest to put into practice.
8. Encouraging people to choose the idea best suited to their circumstances.