Health literacy is identified as a fundamental right of citizenship in a new report published with the support of the EMHF.
'Navigating Health – the role of health literacy' emerged from the health literacy workshop at last year’s European Health Forum at Gastein at which both EMHF president Ian Banks and board member Peggy Maguire made keynote presentations. Their work has had a major input into the report.
‘Health literacy is an essential life skill for individuals,’ conclude the authors, Ilona Kickbusch, Suzanne Wait, Daniela Maag. ‘It may help individuals seek and use information and take control over their health.
‘Health literacy is a public health imperative as building health literacy improves overall population health. Low health literacy is also a strong contributor to health inequalites.’
Although no comparable figures exist for Europe, a US study estimated that low health literacy costs the US economy 73 billion dollars per year.