Understanding Health Literacy

Understanding Health Literacy: Impacts on Inequalities Seminar

Health Literacy is linked to literacy levels and Belfast Healthy City  held an event to highlight the issue: “Understanding Health Literacy: Impacts on Inequalities Seminar

Low health literacy has real effects on health and illness; people with low health literacy levels make more mistakes with medication or treatment. Health literacy is a social determinant of health. People with low health literacy rate their health as lower than people with higher health literacy levels; people with low health literacy and lower educational levels are more likely to have unhealthy lifestyles. In Northern Ireland 18% of working age adults perform at the lowest literacy levels. Health literacy is a catalyst for change and needed for people to understand and act upon health information. Fundamentally health literacy is a way to help and support people to make use of information.

This seminar further examined the concept of health literacy, learning from our WHO Healthy City colleagues in Finland and local colleagues. Joanne Morgan, Chief Executive, Community Development Health Network also highlighted a number of programmes running locally with community pharmacies to improve the health literacy skills of people in communities, in particular the work of the Building Community-Pharmacy Project.The seminar also launched an online Health Literacy resource designed to support development of this area in Belfast. You can find the Health Literacy Online Resource here.

Click here to listen to an interview on Radio Ulster about health literacy and the role of the community pharmacist (Approx 46 minutes into the interview).


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