Challenges in Conducting a Multi and Mixed-Method Research to Develop a National Health Literacy Promotion Strategy in Myanmar


The Health Literacy Promotion Unit within the Ministry of Health and Sports in Myanmar was tasked with developing a national health literacy promotion strategy. My task was to support them by giving advice on how best to develop such a strategy. World Health Organization’s guidance on developing a national health literacy strategy recommended to conduct health literacy research in local communities to gather local needs and to enhance critical thinking and empowering people. A national survey that was supposed to be used as baseline knowledge for developing this strategy was deemed insufficient to reflect the diversity of the country’s population groups. To add local knowledge to this research, community-based research projects were conducted in selected population groups to provide case studies for the consultation process. The aim was to highlight on the example of these case studies the link between health literacy and people’s health and their health behavior and also to train staff on how to conduct such research in their local communities. The underlying vision was to collate information from local community research across the country onto a national database that would enable the development of a comprehensive national health literacy strategy based on the evidence of the needs of the range of Myanmar’s diverse population groups. The findings of this research were used to develop a framework for the strategy development and its process, a map of the relationship between key partners in the process and their respective activities, and a set of recommended action plans. This article focuses on the pilot study of assessing health literacy in the local communities using a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods to optimize the outcomes, in preparation for the development of a framework for the strategy development.

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