[Health literacy as an element of the Polish occupational health system]

Maciej Dobras
Medycyna Pracy 2016, 67 (5): 681-689
Nowadays it is believed that a comprehensive approach towards one's health requires the development and subsequent mastering of health literacy. Although this term has no Polish equivalent, it applies to the ability of individuals to access, analyze and understand information necessary to make informed health decisions. In this publication it is suggested that 'biegłość zdrowotna' can be used as a corresponding Polish term. This publication is based on the review of the available literature (in Polish and in English) on health literacy. To illustrate the hypothetical level of health literacy among Polish employers and employees reports of the Chief Labour Inspectorate and individual items from the Second European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER-2) were used. The analysis proves that health literacy is a multidimensional concept which has been studied and investigated so far only in relation to chosen nosological units, but practically it does not appear in relation to occupational health. There are reasons to believe that in Poland the low level of health literacy among both employers and employees, lies at the forefront of a passive approach towards the safeguarding of workers health. The concept of health literacy needs further dissemination in Poland, whereas the main area of future research should be the design of the Polish tool for assessing health literacy. The national system of occupational health seems to offer a possible ground for implementing such a concept, especially bearing in mind that within the current system there are several entities and services, which have the legal mandate to undertake informative and advisory duties - exactly those, which help build and master health literacy skills. Med Pr 2016;67(5):681-689.

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