Health communication

Health communication is the art and technique of informing, influencing and motivating individuals or larger audiences about important health issues based on scientific and ethical considerations. It includes the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community decisions that enhance health. Health communication is recognised as a necessary part of efforts to improve personal and public health (Figure 7.1). In other words, health communication encompasses the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) with regard to health and healthcare. The benefits of effective health communication are summarised in Box 7.1.

Three women are being shown hygiene education material by a sanitation guard. One of the women is holding a baby.

Figure 7.1 Meaza Kifly, sanitation guard, showing hygiene education material to some women. (Photo: WaterAid/Caroline Irby)

Box 7.1 Elements of health communication

Health communication:

  • initiates action
  • makes needs known
  • exchanges knowledge, attitudes and practices
  • helps people understand issues and may change their health beliefs
  • establishes and maintains relationships with health providers.
Last modified: Saturday, 28 June 2014, 10:14 AM