Health education means making people aware of the various practices that must be followed to ensure healthy personal as well as community life. Health education has to create awareness in the community about the prevailing health problems. It should also help the community to discover resources available for solving those problems. For example, health education should make one aware of the importance of balanced food foe maintaining good health. Then it should help him to plan a balanced diet one must have knowledge of the essential nutrients present in the different food items.
All this information imparted to the community through which they spread and the effective methods for preventing them. Health education makes the people conscious of importance of good health and makes them realise that maintenance of good health is a problem requiring effort of all members of the community.
In order to impart basic health education to rural people community health centers have been set up by government.
Main functions of these health centers are:
1. To educate the people about common disease.
2. To educate the people about causes of common diseases.
3. To educate the people about modes of infection of various common diseases.
4. To educate the people about methods of prevention of common diseases. Some simple precautions and remedies for a few common diseases are in charts containing such information may be displayed in the health centres.
5. To make people aware of various health problems and to educate them about the ways that these problems can be solved with the help of locally available resources> For example, the people may be guided about planning a balanced diet from the locally available food materials.
6. To educate the people about various precautions they should take to ensure that the food and water they consume is clean and wholesome.
7. Community health centres educate the people about the importance of healthy environment and how it can be maintained.
8. Community health centres provide first aid other courses for emergency handling of situations.
Keeping in mind the large population of our country it would be unrealistic to expect that a doctor or a health worker reach would reach each and every person and educate him about various health problems. Such education can be spread only through the collective effort of more and more people.
More and more volunteers, man ad woman, should be trained and educated about the basic issues affecting health. They can further spread this knowledge in their own circles. This types of complete involvement of the people in health education helps in tackling various problems concerning health through personal as well as community initiative. For example, certain industries release untreated affluent in the water bodies such as rivers, ponds, etc.
This can make the water unfit for drinking and even for bathing and washing clothes. Polluted water may cause a number of gastro-intestinal disorders and skin diseases. If the people are aware of hazards of polluted water they will take remedial measures themselves. Through collective effort, they may force the owner of the industrial unit to stop such offending practice.
However, if the people are not aware of the harms of the polluted water on their health, they may keep on consuming it.