oa South African Medical Journal - Fundamental education and health*

Volume 27, Issue 41
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



*A paper read at the South African Medical Congress, Johannesburg, September 1952. Health education, to serve any purpose, must bring about a change for the better in people's lives. The evaluation of such a change must be part of the educational process. Permanent and successful changes can only be brought about if the people themselves want such changes. This is best effected by making health education part of a programme of fundamental education aimed at improving all aspects of the life of the community. The method of fundamental education is the 'democratic approach '. People must be helped to solve their own problems by their own efforts and be given real responsibility for success or failure. Fundamental educators should work in a team, of which the health educator is but one member. It is best to deal with small circumscribed communities at first, and to tackle well-defined problems. Disease is often a good point of attack. Preliminary surveys are desirable, and periodic evaluation essential. In this country the chief mistakes made are: lack of integration and co-operation between the various bodies concerned with Native welfare; lack of consultation with the people; withholding of real responsibility for drawing up plans or for carrying them out; the use of force to get plans carried out.

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