Health without formal Education?

Health Literacy, Quality of Life and Health Behavior Among Male Heads of the Household in Four Districts of the Ghazni Province, Afghanistan
Part of the Gesundheit und Gesellschaft book series (GESUND)


In this chapter, we contribute to the expanding knowledge on health literacy in developing countries by presenting rare data from Afghanistan. We conducted a cross-sectional study with multi-stage random sampling of (literate and illiterate) male heads of the household (N = 502) in four districts in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. The questionnaire in Dari and Pashtu consisted of the HLS-EU-Q16, the WHO QoL and questions on socio-demographic data, infrastructure, help-seeking and health-related behavior. Most male heads of the household have an inadequate or problematic level of health literacy, which is considerably lower than in other Asian countries. Education and quality of life are more closely associated with socio-demographic and contextual determinants and health-promoting behavior than with health literacy. Despite the assumption that people with low (health) literacy behave less healthily, we found no empirical evidence and our study revealed unique insights into their health-promoting behavior. Nonetheless, the general low levels of health literacy and health behavior indicate that these are public health challenges in Afghanistan worth addressing urgently. For future health literacy research in developing countries, the illiterates are, in our view, of special interest for comprehensive public health strategies.


Health literacy Afghanistan HLS-EU-Q 16 


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of SociologyUniversity of Education Freiburg (Germany)FreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Mathematics and StatisticsAmerican University of AfghanistanKabulAfghanistan
  3. 3.Director Shuda Hospital, Ghazny (Afghanistan), Shuhada OrganizationGhaznyAfghanistan
  4. 4.Institute of Sociology, Public Health Research CentreUniversity of Education Freiburg (Germany)FreiburgGermany
  5. 5.School of Education, Institute of Special Education and PsychologyUniversity of Applied Sciences and Arts Northern SwitzerlandMuttenzSwitzerland
  6. 6.Director of the Global Health Literacy AcademyRisskovDenmark

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