“It’s not just that people with no education have worse health. People with a bit of education at somewhat better, with a lot of education it’s even better. And with even more education, it’s better still.”

-Sir Michael Marmot-

Education is at the core of Habilitar’s work. Here, health education is used to improve health engagement, health literacy, and health outcomes.

From a larger viewpoint, education is a fundamental social determinant of health. It is widely recognised that educational attainment is linked to longer and healthier lives.

What do we know about the relationship between education and health?

  • One must first be healthy to obtain and attain education. Poor health can hinder attendance, learning, and performance.
  • Favourable early childhood conditions in fetal health, family and neighbourhood socio-economic status, and early years education improves one’s capacity to learn. It also has impact on one’s risk of adopting unhealthy behaviours and developing diseases in adulthood.
  • Education about health that occurs in school, including physical education lessons build positive health beliefs and behaviours. It equips one with skills and knowledge to understand and advocate for their (and their family’s) health needs, to communicate effectively with health providers, and to make better lifestyle choices.
  • Higher education achievement is associated with better jobs and higher income, which in turn allows one to acquire health-related resources such as healthy food, health services, and the opportunity to live in safer, healthier environments.
  • Those who are more educated have stronger social support networks, social standing, and a sense of control that helps cushion against the effects of stress.

If we accept that health is a basic right, and that health care is about caring for your community then we must keep working towards an intersectional approach to health care, and keep advocating for equity, diversity, and inclusion in both education and health.

“We are in the same storm but not on the same boat”

-Author unknown-

Boat in storm

The arrival of Covid-19 disrupted the delivery of education and health care and therefore disturbs the important linkages between them, for some more than others.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), although global internet use went up by 70% during the pandemic- almost half of the world’s population has no access to the internet.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reports that up to 65% of students (depending on the country) did not have access to a computer at home for daily learning. These students are falling behind and the impact of digital exclusion will have far-reaching consequences on their well-being.

Habilitar’s first social project for 2021/22 is to support organisations that are working to close the gap on the digital divide in education.

Keep watching this space for updates.

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