Rural Indian Culture and Anemia among Women and Children

Based on PEN-3 Model

            PEN-3 Model was developed to be used as the framework for promoting health education and disease prevention in the context of the rural Indian culture. This was essentially done by identification of the factors which contribute to anemia among women and children in rural India. In this cultural group the prevalence of anemia is linked with many social, economic and cultural factors which contribute to the widespread prevalence of anemia among women and children.

            The Model consists of three dimensions of health beliefs and behaviors which are interconnected and inter-reliant; these comprise of Health Education; Health Behavior and Cultural Empowerment. In the context of rural India, lack of resources impact the emergence of conditions socially and economically in which there has been report of estimated sixty percent of children and women who suffer from anemia in one form or another. Women are dependant and malnourished as they have a system of breastfeeding the children until two years of age are one of the major cultural factors which promote anemia. This position of women backed by strong caste system further makes the situation worse. The typical Indian diet is rice based and high in carbohydrate and low in protein.

            The introduction of PEN-3 Model will enhance the health education of the women, who can influence the behavior of the children with regards to food intake. The support of the health organizations to distribute iron and folic acid tablet will also enhance the condition of anemia in women and children. Using the PEN-3 Model

The first dimension of the evaluation is made using the acronym P for Person; E for extended family and N for neighborhood. This leads to the effectiveness of the health plan for the individual, social group and the society. Health education is aimed at improving the health of each and every person and focuses on the empowerment of the individual who can make informed decisions. This will further improve the families and the communities. The aim to focus the area of health education on the extended family and kinship also helps improve the environment for more conducive health conditions. The aim to involve the community and neighborhood is critical to providing a health program which is culturally appropriate.

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            Once a culturally appropriate educational diagnosis is made then the focus is shifted to educational diagnosis of health behavior which can again be evaluated under the PEN-3 Model where P represents Perceptions, E represents enablers and N represents nurturers. Appropriate health education has to begin with persons perceptions which help maintain the health behavior based on their belief and other practices. The focus on the enablers will help identify the forces which may enhance or create barriers to the health education program and Nurturance is necessary as they will support the peers and the society to support the health education. This helps to reinforce the program.

            Development of the appropriate health program which imparts culturally appropriate health beliefs is essential for sensitive health education program for rural Indian culture for minority people like women and children. The widespread anemia in rural India can be addresses by positive support form health organizations and support of the society to improve the barriers presented by the culture for appropriate health education, health behavior and cultural empowerment.



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