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Putting the focus on Health Literacy in Derry & Strabane

8th June 2017

Local health professionals from across Derry City and Strabane District Council area have successfully completed a training programme aimed at helping to reduce the impact of low health literacy.

Research from the World Health Organization shows that people with low health literacy make more mistakes with medication or treatment, are less able to follow treatment instructions and lack the skills needed to navigate the healthcare system. This can result in fewer people attending screening services, higher numbers attending the Emergency Department, increased hospitalisation and re-hospitalisation, increased morbidity and premature death.Increased health literacy helps patients to understand medical instructions and information and to make more informed decisions, which will benefit their health. It is estimated thatnearly 50% of people in Europe suffer from low health literacy levels. To help tackle this problem, Belfast Healthy Cities and the Community Development Health Network delivered the 'Health Literacy Communication Training programme, designed by University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) as part of a three year European project, Intervention Research on Health Literacy of the Ageing Population (IROHLA).

The programme, which was completed by 11 health professionals from across Derry City and Strabane District Council and the wider area had three aims:

  • To increase knowledge and awareness of health literacy;
  • To build capacity in methods and tools for effective communication;
  • To sustain skills and behaviour change

 

Upon completion the participants, who included staff of the Western Health and Social Care Trust, the Public Health Agency, Derry and Strabane Healthy Cities and the Health and Safety Executive in Donegal, were presented with certificates by Belfast Healthy Cities Chair, Dr David Stewart to mark their professional development in health literacy communication.

Speaking at the end of the programme, David Stewart, Belfast Healthy Cities, said: "Health professionals across Northern Ireland have a key role to play in reducing the impact of low health literacy. If we begin to tackle this problem, it can help to bring better health outcomes right across the community. The Health Literacy Communication Training programme has helped 30 health professionals in total equip themselves to deal with health literacy issues they see on a daily basis.”

The Health Literacy Communication Training programme is also being delivered to health professionals in Belfast later this month. To find out more visitwww.belfasthealthycities.com

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