Assessment of Health literacy and its determinants in patients visiting tertiary care hospital, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Keywords:Health literacy, health promotion, delivery of health care, prevention and control
Background: Health literacy refers to the ability to access, understand and use health related information to promote good health. It is required to achieve good health of an individual. Good health literacy has been shown to improve health outcomes of a person and is now the focus of many researches internationally. The objective of the study was to assess health literacy levels and its determinants in patients visiting tertiary care hospital in Rawalpindi
Methods: This cross-sectional survey was conducted in three public sector tertiary care hospitals in duration of four months. 450 adults of either gender with age > 18 years capable of providing informed consent and able to communicate in any of the local languages were selected from outpatient and emergency departments. The data entry and statistical analysis were done using SPSS version 23.
Results: 26.2% of people had poor health literacy, 56.4% had satisfactory health literacy whereas only 17.3% had good health literacy. Health literacy was poorest in domain of disease prevention (lowest mean score of 2.3+.86). Mean health literacy was significantly positively associated with higher income, and higher frequency of watching health-related television programs.
Conclusion: Health literacy levels were found to be low in our study population. Gaps in health literacy should be addressed by more research and interventions. The health educators (health care professionals) can play a major role in helping to enhance the health literacy and act as an advocate for health education.
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