Health literacy

Health literacy empowers people to make positive choices. It implies the achievement of a level of knowledge, personal skills and confidence to take action to improve personal and community health by changing personal lifestyles and living conditions. Thus, health literacy means more than being able to read pamphlets and make appointments. Health literacy is an enabler that supports the promotion of equity by improving people’s access to health information, and their capacity to use it effectively.

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Top story

Stories from the field – helping migrants to help themselves through health literacy

After working as an assistant nurse and social worker in Sweden for more than 10 years, Noorihe Halimi now teaches recently arrived migrants how to make their way through the intricacies of the state health-care system

Health literacy in action

In recent years, health literacy has become an area of increasing interest for researchers and policy-makers alike.

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Facts and figures

WHO believes in an inclusive view of health literacy, broadly defining it as “the cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to, understand and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health”.

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Resources

Inadequate health literacy is a public health challenge: according to the European Health Literacy Survey, 47.6% of the adult population in 8 countries of WHO European Region have poor or inadequate levels of health literacy.

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Multimedia

Get the facts, get the HPV vaccine: the personal story of an HPV vaccination advocate

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