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11.08.2019 Article

A Look At The Free SHS Education In Ghana From The Public Health Perspective

By Amenyah Seth, Registered Dietician
A Look At The Free SHS Education In Ghana From The Public Health Perspective
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One great challenge Dieticians and possibly most clinicians face is communicating to patients in a way they understand. The fact that our educational system uses the English Language in training health professional in the tertiary schools has created a language barrier that makes it very difficult if not impossible to perfectly translate all the medical explanations in English to most patients in the clinical setting. For example, in certain instances, the dietician may prescribe a diet and plan it oftentimes on a diet sheet that the patient should be able to read to understand and follow for the treatment of a disease. The sad news is only a few numbers of patients can really read and understand what is provided to them on their diet sheet. Imagine if almost every Ghanaian in the country can read and write basic English Language? This would make our work very easy to some extent, right?

There are scientific research evidences to support the argument that formal educational programs and policies are crucial public health interventions as well. Formal education is a fundamental public determinant of health. Concepts of formal education and health are interconnected in a way that each may affect the other upstream or downstream. Medical research has found that people with more education are more likely to learn about healthy behaviors. Educated patients may be more able to understand their health needs, follow instructions, advocate for themselves and their families, and communicate effectively with health clinicians.

People with secondary and tertiary education are more likely to learn about health and health risks to improve upon their health literacy and understand what can be complex issues critical to their health and wellbeing. People who are more educated are more interested in health educations. Formal education can also lead to more accurate health beliefs and knowledge that may lead to a better lifestyle choice. Accordingly, more highly educated individuals may better be able to understand health care issues and follow treatment guidelines. More educated people tend to be better informed and make a better choice when it comes to health-related issues.

Besides, cases of drug abuse, smoking, and obesity are relatively less prevalent among educated people. More educated people may be less likely to suffer from complications of or acute and chronic diseases; hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and asthma. In addition, educated people are more likely to exercise, use seat belts and obey road safety rules, take vaccinations and corporate with their dietician or doctor. So higher education may reduce all-cause mortality by a significant degree. A substantial body of international evidence demonstrates clearly that people with lower levels of formal education are more likely to die at a younger age and are at increased risk of poorer health throughout life than those with relatively higher education.

From these viewpoints, the free SHS which has just started to increase the number of Ghanaians who would attain secondary education is a life-saving initiative. A lot more people can on attainment of their secondary school education be able to read and write, understand basic health information and participate in health promotion programs. This would go a long way to increase life expectancy and health care in the country.

Amenyah Seth, Registered Dietician.
A Private Consultant, Health Blogger, and Author
CEO of Diet Care Clinic GH
An Affiliate of the Ghana Dietetic Association & Allied Health Professions Council

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