Posted by on February 28, 2019

Sérgio Haddad comments on the article “How adult education can save your life”

Brazilian, economist, PHD in education. researcher of Acao Educativa, professor of the university of Caxias do Sul, former member of the ICAE board

An interesting study, presented by professor Henrique Lopes from Catholic University of Portugal, leads us to reflect on how adult education can be of service to a form of preventive health that could permit millions of people to keep away from developing illnesses and improve their quality of life. As he describes the fundamental role of fathers, mothers, and caregivers in relaying information that could permit a change in behavior of the people, concerning a healthier and more preventive lifestyle, he offers important analyses about the responsibility of this work, respecting the diverse age groups regarding the content to be relayed.

Given the accelerated dynamics of science development in the health field, within the permanent education perspective, it also deals with the role of educators and healthcare professionals in their responsibility to carry out constant updates regarding new discoveries re preventive processes. 

Finally, it points to the responsibility of the states to act respecting international commitments, showing the effort necessary to attend Sustainable Development Goals and, in this manner, considerably minimizing the several types of rights violations. 

The study also indicates interesting concrete situations that demonstrate the author’s thesis. 

An initial commentary, as a contribution to the debate, would be to include aspects that would permit a more complex analysis of the health phenomenon in the world. In a world where social inequality dominates and is deepening, what are the limits for operating in the field of preventive healthcare when millions of people have no place to live, no access to water, or to food, or to education, or even to minimal sanitary conditions that would permit effective and lasting work. There is no reason to deny action with any social group, but there are limits that are impassable, independent of the good will of any citizen, and that these depend on profound structural changes, something that is not occurring in the present world conjuncture. On the contrary, the world is treading towards an increase of poverty and inequality among and within nations. If it is true that 80% of the improvement of health conditions of a population is a consequence of “massive availability of potable water, foodstuff in good conditions, and hygienic habits” as Professor Lopes affirms, it is also true that ever less human beings have access to these rights. 

A second theme for debate regards the exponential growth of the pharmaceutical industry placing the health theme in the field of economic interests of the large conglomerates, conditioning the spaces for culture and preventive action in detriment to culture as well as in the permanent consumption of medications.  There is also the health market that puts pressure on public authority to leave this responsibility in the hands of the private sector so that they can effectuate their profits. 

One last observation, within the field of adult education, would be that of postulating that, together with preventive education, themes and methodologies should be incorporated to increase the degree of political consciousness of the citizens regarding the structural limitations that result  in populations becoming physically, emotionally, and psychologically infirm. We cannot forget to mention the fundamental contribution of Paulo Freire to this field when he affirms that no educational work is politically neutral, be it in the field of health or any other.  Work that broadens preventive action, as is brilliantly demonstrated by Professor Lopes, could gain political density insofar as it also functions towards increasing the participation of the population in defending their rights. An education for prevention escapes from falling into welfarism if, together with it, the population is increasingly aware of the ever more unjust ways that the world has been trudging through over the last years. 


Links to the AED 85/2018 publication in three languages: EnglishFrenchSpanish
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Voici les liens vers la publication en trois langues: Anglais FrançaisEspagnol

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