Supporting Materials for Health Literacy
 On boxes of medicine,
 In medical education brochures,
 In doctors' orders ab...
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Health literacy and its impact on health care


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Health Literacy in Turkey

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Health literacy and its impact on health care

  1. 1. Supporting Materials for Health Literacy  On boxes of medicine,  In medical education brochures,  In doctors' orders about treatment and diagnosis, approval forms,  Patient consent forms,  Health literacy is the ability to ask for integrated healthcare services (2). The Health Literacy Cycle  The skills to access the right information and services,  The ability to use services,  Correctly reading and understanding healthcare instructions,  Using resources the right way,  Creating high quality conditions in healthcare,  Equips individuals with the competence to have a say in their own health and in public health (3). Health Literacy Training: Practices in Turkey In Turkey, the Ministry of Health also provides healthcare professionals with information about patient health, diseases, and treatment, managing and care of chronic disease, accessing healthcare systems, decision-making, life-long learning, gaining health protection skills, and organizes training sessions to raise awareness about public health issues. The health literacy training sponsored by the Ministry of Health for training teams in the provinces focuses on the topics of "What is health literacy? What the factors that have an impact on health literacy?" and provides information on job descriptions in the hospitals and protective health services (4). Patient Education The education of patients at the hospital is he most important part of health literacy. The main goal of patient education is to promote individual health. Preventing infectious diseases and other similar conditions and taking protective measures will contribute to achieving the goal of a healthy population. Health literacy helps individuals to better understand their health problems, to achieve better communication with their doctors, and to better recognize what must be done so that the right steps are taken. Introduction One of the fields that draws in the most investments around the world is the healthcare sector. Both private and public healthcare services are costly endeavors. It is for this reason that the health of individuals, public health and health protection are among the priorities in government policies. The literature defines health literacy as, "the ability to obtain, read, understand and use healthcare information to make appropriate health decisions and follow instructions for treatment" (1). (Resource:,2014). Colloquial References to Different Diseases in Turkey Among the colloquial references to different diseases, gout, for example, is called the "disease of kings" or «the rich man's sickness» (5). People refer to brain aneurysms as "Balloon disease" and these afflictions are generally diagnosed after they bleed (6). Lymphedema is a type of disease that is known popularly as "elephant sickness" (7). Night blindness is known as "chicken-black" (8). Güssün GÜNEŞ Marmara University, İstanbul, Göztepe Turkey, Huriye ÇOLAKLAR İstanbul University, İstanbul, Çapa Turkey, Bahar BİÇEN ARAS İstanbul, Beşiktaş Turkey, Abdullah TURAN Bilgi University, İstanbul, Kuştepe, Turkey, Figure 1. Disease of kings Health Literacy Child Adult Elderly Doctors Health Professionals Medical Librarians Conclusion Health literacy involves ensuring that persons who are not health professionals access accurate health information, that they evaluate health concepts, learn how to take advantage of health services and contribute to decisions made about healthcare. It can be said that when health literacy is fully understood, people will become more aware. This is why it is important that patients should be educated and health professionals should be constantly trained. Figure 2. Balloon disease Figure 3. Elephant sickness Figure 4. Chicken-black Do you recognize these universal symbols below? References (1) “Health Literacy”. Accessible at:, (cited 10 September 2013). (2) “Healthy People 2010: Understanding and improving health”, Accessible at: internal/de5fs23hu73ds/progress?id=WSdbo9vAeG, (cited 26 February 2014). (3) “Health Literacy”. Accessible at:,(cited 25 February 2014). (4) The Ministry of Health of Turkey, Accessible at:, (cited 26 Fevbruary 2014). (5) Eggebeen AT. "Gout: an update". Am Fam Physician 2007 Sep; 76(6):801–8. (6) “What is an aneurysm?”. Accessible at:, (cited 03 March 2014). (7) “What is lymphedema (elephantiasis)? How is it treated?”. Accessible at:, (cited 03 March 2014). (8) “What is the disease Chicken black (night blindness-retinitis pigmentosa)?. Accessible at:, (cited 03 March 2014). Acknowledgements 1 This study was supported by the Research Fund of Marmara University. BAPKO Project Number: SOS-D-120314-0072. 2 This study was supported by the Research Fund of Istanbul University. Project Number: UDP-42721.