Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Critical Issues of Training and Health Education in Kenya

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Critical Issues of Training and Health Education in Kenya

Article excerpt

The foregoing study examined why health education is given low priority in several National Health Development programmes and how increased support may be introduced. Relevant experiences were drawn from the reviewed literature on Health Education, and then discussed in the light of health education problems in Kenya to help draw suitable conclusions and recommendations for improving the Kenyan situation. In this paper, health is defined in light of health education and Human Communication Theory among other related issues. Training for health education and strategies and improving health education programmes are also discussed. It emerged that health education needs priority attention through practical support in the areas of resource allocation; management; reorganization of the Division of Health Education in order to introduce effective management capabilities; revival of training for health education officers; review of the training curricula for all health workers so that health education is introduced as a major subject of study; introducing incentives and attractive scheme of service for health education officers; setting performance standards research into health education concepts, training models, educational materials and programme evaluations.

Keywords: issues, training, strategies, health education, kenya, human communication theory

INTRODUCTION

In 1963, Kenya became an independent nation within According to WHO (1946), health is a "state of complete, physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity". This much quoted statement has subsequently been criticized because it implies a static position of complete well-being which may not be easy to achieve. The idea that health means having the ability to adapt continually to constantly changing demands, expectations and stimuli is more preferable (Ewles & Simnett, 1985, p. 5).

It appears that health is generally accorded low value when compared to the considerable importance accorded to ill-health. The definition of "health" tends to be tied to an "absence of ill-health". As yet, health cannot be quantified scientifically in the same way as the signs and symptoms of ill-health. Furthermore, it seems that an individual's interpretation of health may be broadly or narrowly related to age, human potential or is merely a reflection of that person's state of well-being at any given moment in their life.

The absence of a clear concept of health, which would include variations according to a multiplicity of factors, is again hampered by the historical fact that healthcare, including health education, is based on a medical model which concerns itself with systematic diagnosis and treatment, and rarely takes the whole person, his/her environment or total needs, into account. Strehlow (1983) observes that education has suffered from similar difficulties as described of health because many people associate the word with unpleasant experiences of childhood and adolescence. In other words, the "good days" of school life appear to be a myth for the majority of the people and, therefore, they are reluctant to expose themselves to any proposal which might repeat unsatisfactory experiences. In addition, Green et al. (1980) see that health education is a field without a clear articulation of its boundaries, methods and procedures, although its philosophy and intellectual roots are sufficiently understood. Moreover, the same commentator perceives that the training of health educators has been relatively devoid of uniformity or consistent standards.

In the same context, Strehlow (1983) complains that the textbooks for health education are not easy to read or put into practice. However, she sees that the scope of health education is limitless despite being regarded with scepticism by some of its recipients. Rodmell and Watt (1986) argue that although health education is practiced at different levels in different places by different people, it may be regarded as a discipline of its own right. …

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