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Health Education: Not for Health Professionals alone II

by Ndubuisi Edeoga

Although we see more glaring statistics out of our great country, and see the many opportunities pass us by, all hope is not lost. Maybe its time we start looking for solution from unusual places, like they say in common parlance “think outside the box

I was in a church out in New Jersey attending a child dedication and when I got the bulletin, lo and behold…a one page advertisement for the millennium development goals. It listed the 8 major goals, and admonished the parishioners to give 0.7% of their income to this cause (we all might not be able to give, and that’s okay) and summarized by saying working together we can make poverty HISTORY… that got me thinking.

Have we left our healthcare in the hands of the politicians and health professionals for too long? Is it now time for us all to take back the dissemination of health information and performance basic healthy practices. Nigeria has one the largest collection of places of worship churches, mosques, shrines, and other places of worship, actually there is one on every street, some lucky streets boast of more than one! (…those loudspeakers :)!)

Is it possible that these places of worship can ask their parishioners to practice one healthy habit each week? Can we start with simple hand washing, and reduce the diahorreal disease killing our children. Can we tell them to check their blood pressure before they come to service next week, and reduce the number of people walking around with unimaginable blood pressures and the consequences on the eyes, kidneys, and several other organs?

Can we tell them to drink one bottle of beer rather than 4 or 5over the weekend. Can we tell the people that smoke to reduce smoking indoors due to health effects on the kids ( I know they might no longer care about themselves), and can we do this without being judgemental and just give them the necessary information. Most people might not be aware of the consequences of their habits; we can inform them and reinforce the information all through the year at no added cost, being that we will still print those bulletins with or without the added health information.

As we highlight the apparent failures of the political and health system we all can chip in, to affect some form of change, we all can be more aggressive in getting information for ourselves and pointing others to sources of information, as we all know “knowledge is power” (but only if you use it). If you are interested in helping in a cause if you are interested in empowering some one , if you are interested in advocacy, and if you just need more information about health and the development goals.

It is important that we learn what works in whatever part of the world that we live in and spread the good news to our beloved country. So today when you call to speak to your loved ones, ask them to talk to their pastors, priests and imams, about putting important health information in the bulletins or adding it to their sermons, incantations or whatever they use in the place of worship.

Working together we can make poverty, paucity of health information, poor choices and their ilk’s history.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

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