Accessibility of Health Education

Author: Maddie Fickes 

While I have just recently arrived in England, I have already been exposed to many parts of their healthcare system and the positive impact that it has within the Chester community.  As in the United States, nurses and other professionals strive to promote a holistic approach when taking care of their patients.  I had the opportunity to join a Health Visitor Nurse Specialist for her daily patient visits, and was heavily exposed to the educational impact of this community-based nursing position.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals have been adopted by UN Member States to strive for the healing of people and our environment across the globe.  The fourth goal focuses on the assurance of quality education, this being a need that transcends school-based learning and enters the healthcare field as well.  While out on home visits with the English nurse, I noticed that most of her position focused on teaching new mothers and other parents to properly care for their children.  I found it particularly heartwarming to learn that home visits are done by a midwife within the first 10 days of a mother giving birth, followed by additional nurse visits between 10 and 14 days, 6-8 weeks, and 1 year from birth.  The regular schedule and personal nature of these visits is something that is not seen as frequently in the United States, and instead new mothers more often travel to doctor’s appointments themselves.  In this way, the education that is crucial for the healthy development of a baby may not be given if parents don’t show up for follow-up visits, or cannot find a means of transportation to get to these visits.

A large part of this specific Sustainable Development Goal relates to the accessibility of education itself.  While it is important to have properly trained individuals to provide education in communities, this means little if they cannot ensure that the education can be accessed easily and by many people.  In this way, the habitual nature of home visits in England, especially after birth, is a wonderful way to ensure that more individuals can receive the health education that they need.


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