The Role of Health Literacy and Awareness in Disease Prevention and Access to Care

Publication Date


Document Type



Medicine and Health Sciences


Book chapter in Current Innovations in Disease and Health Research Vol. 6 by Prof. Wagih Mommtaz Ghannam, Editor.


Health literacy and awareness are essential strategies for promoting global health and improving access to care. While seen as an essential tool for promoting population health awareness to improve early detection and treatment of chronic diseases, it is yet to be emphasized in many low- and middle-income health systems. Health literacy is an essential practice to promote good health outcomes, prevent infection and reduce chronic disease-risk factors. Health education is essential to improve and promote health literacy and empower individuals and communities to identify, recognize disease risk factors and adopt necessary practices to prevent, reduce, and manage conditions from progressing. Incidence and mortalities from diseases can arise from lack of or limited knowledge about disease risk factors and the non-use of available health services.

This chapter addresses the important role health literacy and awareness play in improving individual and population health and how health education can empower people to take the initial steps in diseases prevention and support others to live well and seek care for their health conditions timely. It discussed how the interactions of humans, and animals within their environments can pose risks for the spread of infectious diseases; concepts and dimension of disease preventions; role of health education in creating health literacy and awareness; constraints to health literacy, and recommendations for a better health literacy campaigns to prevent diseases and minimize impacts.