Literacy key in counselling

National

It is crucial for health workers to ask and know the education level of their clients in order to provide HIV counselling in the language that they can understand, an official says.
“Literacy level helps us to understand what type of education counselling we will give,” said Family Health International senior programme officer Vanessa Kapus during a training session in Port Moresby this week.
“If he or she is illiterate, then you have to draw picture or say things in simple terms to their level and make them understand. If they are of primary or secondary school level you know what language to use,” Kapus said.
“If that person is a university graduate you know what language to use, so they would understand.
“So the education level is very much important in you giving counselling. If he is a villager and you give counselling in English then you will confuse him altogether.
“These are some of the factors that contribute to people dropping out of treatment, so it’s important to know what their education level is.”
She told health workers during the final day of NCD HIV surveillance training that effective communication between health workers and clients was important in providing HIV services.
“Gender-based violence screening is also very important. We must not ignore it as it is also a major cause in the spread of HIV.”

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