Role of health education in promoting health in Libya : evaluation of the existing situation and assessment of future needs
A variety of programmes of health education are designed, addressing promotion of health of the Libyan community. These programmes employ various communication methods and use different education media. This research is the first to evaluate the national programmes of health education in Libya and to determine future needs. It compares health officials' assessments with those of the general public; providers and users. It also examines the health professionals' perceptions on their role in health education. Five questionnaires are used in this research. The first two questionnaires are designed for the evaluation purpose. The third and fourth questionnaires are to determine future needs. The fifth questionnaire is about health professionals' role in health education. Both of the groups, the officials and the general public, assessed TV as being the most effective health education medium. The general public favoured the 'spots' over regular programmes. Their assessment of the radio effectiveness was much lower. Officials, on the other hand, favoured regular programmes over 'spots', and placed radio's role only slightly lower than the impact of TV. Both of the groups recommended wide use of TV for future health education. Children and youth are considered the main groups to be targeted with respect to most of health issues. School is the most preferred setting to target the children. Youth and sport clubs are recommended in communicating with the youth. Assessment of future priority health issues attracted different responses from the two groups. Health professionals perceive that they are responsible for mediating health education and consider this role as important. However, effectiveness of the existing role of health professionals in health education in Libya is evaluated differently. Main barriers to an effective role are identified and required solutions are suggested. The findings of this research suggest the need for systematic consultation across professional and lay groups as a requisite preliminary for statutory health education/promotion initiatives. These findings also address the need for further work and research in certain areas.