Health Education

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Related to Health Education: Health promotion
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Health Education


a division of public health and medical science concerned with the development of the theory and practice of improving the population’s health awareness. The population is afforded a thorough knowledge of the fields of hygiene and preventive medicine and the appropriate hygienic and preventive rules that must be observed. Health education as a branch of science incorporates not only the medical disciplines but also sociology, psychology, and pedagogy. In practice, health education is presented through lectures, publications, radio, movies, television, people’s universities, and health schools.

Health education is provided by all developed countries to various extents. As part of the state public health system of the USSR, it was first developed in the 1920’s. It was important in resolving medical and health problems that developed in the 1920’s and 1930’s, including the control of epidemics, the protection of mothers and children, the control of social diseases, the improvement of urban and rural housing and institutional sanitation, and the prevention of occupational diseases and injuries. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 health education was instrumental in health protection and in soliciting blood donors. Later it addressed itself to eliminating the health aftereffects of the war.

In the USSR, health education is a requirement in every therapeutic and prophylactic and health and epidemiologic institution, and it is required of every medical worker. Republic, krai, oblast, and city houses of health education have both organizational and methodological functions; they constitute a special health education service with the appropriate offices of public health epidemiologic stations. In addition to public health agencies, cultural and educational institutions of the soviets of people’s deputies and trade unions, Znanie, the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, educational agencies, and other organizations engage in the dissemination of medical and hygienic knowledge. An interdepartmental All-Union Council of Health Education and republic soviets of health education have been established to coordinate the work of the above organizations. Scientific research and methodology is directed by the Central Scientific Research Institute of Health Education of the Ministry of Public Health of the USSR, which was founded in 1928 in Moscow.

Outside the USSR, scientific research institutes of health education have been established in Prague and Bratislava in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, in Belgrade in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and in Dresden in the German Democratic Republic. National and regional centers function as scientific research institutions or major houses of health education in many socialist countries, including the Socialist Republic of Rumania, the Hungarian People’s Republic, and the Mongolian People’s Republic, and in many capitalist countries, including France, Great Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the USA.

The World Health organization has had a division of health education since 1940; this section works with UNESCO and the International Union for Health Education (IUHE), which was founded in 1951. The All-Union Council of Health Education joined the IUHE in 1957. The IUHE has held international conferences since 1951. Symposia attended by health education specialists from the European socialist countries have been held since 1964—in Budapest in 1964, in Rostock in 1967, in Moscow in 1970, and in Prague in 1974. The IUHE has published an international journal on health education in Geneva since 1958 entitled the International J ournal of Health Education.


Ocherki po istorii sovetskogo sanitarnogo prosveshcheniia. Moscow, 1960.
Sanitarnoe prosveshchenie. Moscow, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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