Health literacy: What lessons can be learned from the experiences and policies of different countries?

Autorinnen/Autoren: Adriaenssens J., Rondia K, Van den Broucke S., Kohn L.

Erscheinungsjahr: November 2021

Link: Article


Background: Adequate levels of health literacy (HL) are crucial to ensure good quality of health, social life and wellbeing. HL is a mediating factor in health disparities. Low HL hampers interaction with healthcare. HL is a shared responsibility of individuals and the healthcare system. Multi-dimensional programs and policies should be set up.


Aim: To learn from current HL policies and action plans and to identify elements to consider for the development of national HL plans.


Method: Transversal analysis of HL policies in six countries, based on a preliminary scoping review. A combination of document analysis and key informant approach. Local experts validated and completed information for their country. A transversal comparison was performed.


Results: Several approaches were identified, often influenced by contextual factors, healthcare reforms and existence of centers of expertise. Some governments developed full-fledged, standalone plans, while others developed broader plans covering the entire health and care sector. Some took a conceptually driven, high level approach. Others took a pragmatic approach. And some did not have a governmental plan at all.


Conclusion: Policy makers should analyse their state structure and health system, and search for local ‘pockets of excellence’, to develop a well-planned, substantiated HL approach for their country.

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