- Main Elements Characterize This Program
- Program Vision
- General Goals and objectives
- Main strategies
- Coordination & Cooperation
- Major achievements
- Methods of evaluation
The main objective of Palestine Medical Relief’s Health Education Program, is to promote health awareness within Palestinian society. Information is provided to local populations on how to prevent disease and illness from occurring, as well as how to treat them. The messages relayed by the various mediums used, encourage people to adopt healthy lifestyles, alter risk inducing habits, and strive to maintain overall good health. Whilst educating the general public, material is also produced which is to be used by health care professionals when training Palestinian Medical Relief staff. This ensures that good health care techniques are promoted throughout the organization. In addition, as well as being proactive in its approach to healthcare provision, the Health Education Program is also be reactive. For example during the Second Intifada, the program was able to quickly disseminate information on first aid techniques as well as how to cope with stress and psychological trauma.
Main Elements Characterize This Program:
• Empowerment by knowledge.
• Promotion of healthy life styles.
• Training of health educators.
• Community Participation.
• Production of HE materials.
• Engage in lobbying and advocacy activities with regard to public health policies.
• To have a comprehensive national plan for health education ( in terms of needs and priorities)
• Promote healthy life style as a basic strategy to combat health problems.
• Build teams of health educators empowered with appropriate knowledge and skills.
• Take action at the local, national and regional levels in health education activities
PMRS Background in Health Education promotion
Health Education is a core component of PMRS’s program of Community Activities. Promoting healthy lifestyles and encouraging behavioral changes that prevent disease and injury is a central principle of Primary Health Care. PMRS therefore began producing health education materials in 1985. A year later, PMRS formed a joint committee with Birzeit University's Community Health Department to produce health education materials. This committee prepared the first comprehensive health campaign for the prevention of diarrhea in cooperation with UNICEF in 1990. PMRS continued its health education mission during the first Intifada (1987-1993) through first aid training, and preparation of blood donor lists through blood group testing. During the 1990s, PMRS launched a breast-feeding and active birth promotion campaign and an acute respiratory infection (ARI) campaign with UNICEF.
PMRS's health messages currently reach over 400 communities in the West Bank and Gaza, or close to a third of the overall Palestinian population (1 million out of 3.7 million). The content of the materials are sometimes coordinated with larger institutions (UNICEF, WHO, other NGOs) and evolves to cover needs linked to new trends in diseases or new illnesses.
As Palestine undergoes an epidemiological transition in disease patterns, the task remains how to simultaneously address both “diseases of underdevelopment” and “diseases of development,” in the face of extreme poverty, political conflict and barriers to providing adequate services. PMRS believes that the best way to combat these problems is to educate individuals and communities in healthy practices such as safe water use, breast-feeding, good hygiene, risk factors (such as smoking), with the goal of promoting healthier lifestyles.
In line with its goal of developing a comprehensive health model, PMRS aims to reach people and educate them about their health and ways of tackling both types of health problems (NCDs and infectious diseases) through a range of health education activities such as campaigns, videos, TV commercials, and producing pamphlets.
• Follow up activities with PMRS health education committee.
• Support mainstreaming of HE in other PMRS programs.
• Develop new health education materials.
• Increase printing and distribution of highly needed health education materials.
• Adopt more interactive and attractive methods to convey health messages.
• Integrate the counseling component in health education sessions.
• Develop health education theatre and develop audio-visual educational materials
Coordination & Cooperation
• Member of the National Committee for Health Promotion and Education.
• Participation in UNICEF meetings for program review and future cooperation programs.
• Annual plan with MOE to implement health education activities in certain schools.
• Coordination with other ministries such as MOH, MOSA, MOYS.
• Cooperation with the Thalassemic Patients Friends Society.
• Active involvement with other NGO health education programs.
Production of approximately 100 different health education materials.
Success in conducting health education campaigns as: breast feeding campaigns, oral hygiene campaign, road safety campaign, environmental health campaign and many others.
Methods of evaluation
• Direct observation.
• Follow up activities.
• Discussion groups.
• Clinic visits.
• Feedback evaluation forms.
Audio Visual materials
In coordination with the Health Education Program, The PMRS video unit undertakes the production of educational TV spots on issues of concern to the public. The video unit productions help in conveying health messages to the public through additional channels, which can ensure a wider reach of health awareness messages in regard to certain issues. Topics for TV spots developed during 2006 are presented in the following table with an explanation of aim of each message.
Smoking and nargeeleh
To raise awareness on harms of both smoking and nargeeleh on health.
To deliver a message on the problems caused by obesity as one of the risk factors for many diseases
To encourage people to practice physical activity on daily bases
Chronic diseases (film)
To demonstrate risk factors for chronic diseases, such as smoking, sedentary life style and others.
PMRS plans to be at the forefront of an exciting new movement in health education in Palestine: audio-visual production. One of the most popular modes of communication in our world today is through audio-visuals. In Palestine, like in many parts of the world, television, radio and photography are primary means of communication. In 1992, 95% of households in Gaza had radios and in 1997, 93% of households in most areas of the West Bank and Gaza had televisions. With the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority, tens of local TV stations have opened, giving PMRS a new medium of communication. Audio-visual supports provide good bases for comprehension of abstract concepts. Participation in discussions based on visual images is effective, generating immediate responses and interaction to visual stimuli. PMRS has taken a leading role in the use of video and television to convey health education messages.
Audiovisual activities and achievements
PMRS views health education materials as supporting tools in conveying health messages to individuals, families and communities. They are also part of our lobbying and advocacy activities targeting policy-making structures at the national and local levels. Our staff identified a list of topics with vital prevention and promotion aspects.
During the past five years, PMRS was able to introduce major improvements in the quality of health education materials produced. More interactive and attractive approaches are now utilized to convey health messages, especially to children. This included the use of audio-visual materials (TV, radio, and videos).
The previous work the Video Unit has produced includes 23 TV spots; two mini documentaries about women health, One report about an Aids patient and two short films. The first film is about youths and the challenge they go through at this age under the current situation of unemployment, difficulty of movement. The second film is an educational one about HIV/Aids.
- TV spots subject tackled the following topics: Chronic diseases
- School health
- Road safety
- Child health and safety
- Breast cancer
- Healthy diet
- Importance of sport
- Freedom of expression
- Delivery experiences
- Pregnancy exercise
Health Education Theatre
The theatre activities included:
• health shows for various target groups including mothers, children, elderly.
• Drama training sessions mainly for school students.
• Participation in children festivals, with children being involved in the theatric shows.
General Goals and objectives
• To raise awareness toward common health problems.
• To make change in some health practices widely spread in the community.
• To help in diagnosis of health problems.
• To develop new health education tools and methods.
• To maintain a process of coordination and cooperation with other health and social organizations
• To participate in health committees locally, nationally and at the international level
• To build up systematic documentation process for activities.
• To facilitate the participation of target groups in the education and awareness raising process.
• To build a systematic process for monitoring and evaluation.