Health Promotion Using Health Messages & Counseling
Imagine you have just been employed and posted in a certain health facility and on Monday morning, you are expected to give a health talk to your patients. What health messages are you going to counsel them on?
How will you promote health since, all patients expect you know everything about your field?
Simply encourage dialogue on the following:-
Firstly, address on proper nutrition focusing on balanced diet which includes eating foods that contain all the necessary nutrients we require. On that same point, emphasize on drinking enough water as it nourishes our bodies.
Secondly, explain to them the effects of taking junk foods that are of no benefit to us. According to Community Nutrition, some parents especially single mothers, may be feeding their children unknowingly, on meals that cause malnutrition! This could arise due to either ignorance, laziness, “budgeting” or illiteracy.
At that point, talk of fruits, vegetables especially the green ones, whole grains, nuts, meats (especially white) and many others.
In general, they should always include foods rich in proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates and little fats to avoid high cholesterol intake.
ii.) Encourage rest and maintain proper hygiene.
Obvoiusly, we all know that we need to rest at some point to regain energy. Yeah, we might be in so occupied on our day-to-day activities but sincerely….WE NEED TO REST! Please encourage your patients on this.
In addition, you need to emphasize them on maintaining proper hygiene. Otherwise, we may find ourselves combating diseases. These two aspects go hand-in-hand.
iii.) Maintain safer sex practices.
People need to practice safer sex as there are better ways nowadays! Prevalence of diseases such HIV/AIDS, STIs, Hepatitis has been on the rise globally due to various reasons. As a health professional, you should understand that we are dealing with behaviour change!
As a matter of fact, we need to either abstain from sexual intercourse or be faithful to one sexual partner or consistently and correctly use condom. Young people or rather teenagers may be encouraged to abstain until they get married (for like 5 years) e.g. from 18 years old to 23 years.
iv.) Advise on care of common discomfort.
Examples include fatigue, constipation, heartburn, insomnia, headaches, tooth pain and many more.
v.) Use of IPT (Intermittent Preventive Therapy), ITN (Insecticide Treated Nets), LLINS.
Actually, this means preventing malaria occurence by use of special therapy whereby you give patients/clients sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) as recommended for all by WHO.
In addition, explain on the importance of sleeping under a treated mosquito net i.e. ITNs that are available at every health facility.
vi.) Drug compliance.
Advice your patients on the importance of drug compliance. They need to get the fact that taking an underdose or overdose or even defaulting especially the HIV clients will have a great impact on their conditions or health…and for that case, a NEGATIVE impact!
vii.) Family Planning.
Every health facility offers family planning services and therefore, people need to embrace it. It is a good and beneficial strategy that helps both families and the government in planning for the future.
Moreso, there are various methods to choose from.
viii.) Early and exclusive breastfeeding.
Here, counsel them on the importance as well as effects of not doing so. Early breastfeeding provides the baby/infant enough nutrient that can help in building the immune system.
Exclusive breastfeeding helps the baby essential for growth and development.
ix.) Newborn care.
However, teach your patients on cord care, immunization, hygiene, and breastfeeding. In Layman’s language, they keep the baby’s health strong!
x.) Maintain the woman’s health and survival through health education and counseling on the following:-
- Danger signs in pregnancy
- Adequate nutrition.
- Early and exclusive breastfeeding.
- Prevention and treatment of S.T.Is and worm infestation.
- Alcohol and tobacco avoidance.
- Individual birth plan and complications.
Don’t forget to counsel the mother to come for a postpartum checkup. If not delivered in the hospital, she should be checked immediately after delivery (48 hours)
Also, counsel the mother to attend to a well baby clinic. Remember to tell the mother to take that child for first immunization.
Counsel the mother on feeding options.
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