|Effective Communications for Nutrition in Primary Health Care (UNU, 1988, 208 p.)|
|Country and project reports|
Department of Health, Seremban, Negeri Sambilan, Malaysia
The primary health-care approach in Malaysia is an integral part of the government community development movement, or Gerakan Pembaharuan (Operation Renewal), launched in 1972. Nutrition communication activities form a major component of the existing basic health services. The activities are channelled through various health and nutrition services.
Group talks, cooking demonstrations with group discussions, individual advice in clinics, and home visits are provided through maternal and child health services. The health education unit is responsible for producing educational materials such as posters and leaflets at both national and state levels. Health education mobile units, fully equipped with audio-visual aids, provide films and slide shows, arrange talks and dialogue sessions, and distribute leaflets. A mass media programme using radio and television was introduced in July 1983 as a joint effort of the ministries of Health and Information. The messages include a wide range of health and nutrition information. Health education materials are used extensively and local radio broadcasts will be utilized to overcome dialect problems.
The applied nutrition programme started in 1969 uses an intersectoral approach towards PHC. Four main ministries are involved, namely, Health, Agriculture and Rural Development, Education, and Information. Health and nutrition education is one of the main tasks. Nutrition surveillance is also used as a channel for nutrition communications. In addition, both formal education, such as that provided in nursing schools, and in-service training for health personnel are being conducted by various training schools.
The present trend of the health service is shifting from a clinic-based to a community-based approach, in which health staff work closely with community leaders. Attempts to encourage more active community participation in health activities are being made through committee meetings on development at the village and district levels.