“Literacy is the best remedy” is the theme of this year’s International Literacy Day, which is celebrated annually on 8 September. On the occasion of International Literacy Day 2008, UNESCO’s Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura states:
“Today’s gravest health concerns cannot be adequately addressed unless literacy finds a central place in public health policies and strategies. An illiterate person is simply more vulnerable to ill health and less likely to seek medical help for themselves, their family or their community…. “Literacy is a powerful, yet too often overlooked, remedy to health threats, with the potential to promote better nutrition, disease prevention and treatment.” (source)
Around the world, communities are discovering that by using their own language, they are also developing solutions to health-related challenges. Reading materials in local languages that discuss hygiene, nutrition, and the prevention and treatment of diseases have proven to be effective in improving general health and life expectancy.
More on International Literacy Day:
- UNESCO official website
- Why Languages Matter: Meeting Millennium Development Goals through local languages
Here is a video on a UNICEF Girls Education Project in Northern Nigeria: