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
The ability to use services,
Correctly reading and understanding healthcare
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 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).
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.
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).
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Huriye ÇOLAKLAR İstanbul University, İstanbul, Çapa Turkey, email@example.com
Bahar BİÇEN ARAS İstanbul, Beşiktaş Turkey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abdullah TURAN Bilgi University, İstanbul, Kuştepe, Turkey, email@example.com
Figure 1. Disease of kings
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?
(1) “Health Literacy”. Accessible at: http://www.boluekspres.com/icerik/kose.php?i=8676, (cited 10 September 2013).
(2) “Healthy People 2010: Understanding and improving health”, Accessible at: http://www.healthequityks.org/mwg-
internal/de5fs23hu73ds/progress?id=WSdbo9vAeG, (cited 26 February 2014).
(3) “Health Literacy”. Accessible at: http://spreadinghealthliteracy.blogspot.com.tr/2012/01/duke-university-medical-center.html,(cited 25 February 2014).
(4) The Ministry of Health of Turkey, Accessible at: http://www.saglik.gov.tr, (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: http://www.saglikveguzellik.net/anevrizma-nedir-nedenleri-nelerdir.html, (cited 03 March 2014).
(7) “What is lymphedema (elephantiasis)? How is it treated?”. Accessible at: http://www.bilgiustam.com/lenfodemfil-hastaligi-nedir-nasil-tedavi-edilir/, (cited 03
(8) “What is the disease Chicken black (night blindness-retinitis pigmentosa)?. Accessible at: http://www.lensalemi.com/tavuk-karasi-hastaligi-nedir.html, (cited
03 March 2014).
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