These services are defined as "The process of enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants, and thereby improve their health".
Health Education and Promotion
Many of health problems in Pakistan and Punjab are the result of very poor consumer education. Health education is a classic example of a public good; the government must take responsibility for it and fund it. Some of the most important types of health education needed in Pakistan are as follows:
- Creation of greater awareness of, and demand for: (i) immunization of infants and tetanus toxoid vaccination for women of reproductive age; (ii) pre- and post-natal checkup and deliveries by trained health care providers; (iii) the health benefits of proper spacing of children through family planning; and (iv) good nutrition practices, not only for pregnant women and young children, but also for adults (so as to prevent cardiovascular disease)
- Basic hygienic practices to prevent various types of communicable diseases (personal hygiene, proper cleaning of kitchen utensils, boiled water, proper disposal of human waste, etc)
- Education about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases and their prevention
- Anti-smoking campaigns, to lower the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and other diseases associated with smoking
- Education of people as health consumers to enable them to develop a better understanding of service quality. Consumers should be educated as to what they should expect and demand from a health care provider, public or private. They should also be educated to be able to distinguish among various types of health care providers, and especially to create awareness about the dangers of seeking care from untrained providers.
An important point to note is that there is a great deal of synergy between general education levels and specific health education efforts. The efficacy of health education is likely to rise as education levels rise. Nevertheless, health education efforts can have a significant effect even under present low levels of general education. For example, levels of immunization in Pakistan and Punjab have risen in the past when information, education and communication activities related to the immunization programme were stepped up. Another example of a successful and recent (information, education and communications) campaign in Pakistan is the campaign associated with the Green Star Network of private family planning clinics.