Levels of Prevention

Primary Prevention

Providing specific protection against disease to prevent its occurrence is the most desirable form of prevention. Primary preventive efforts spare the client the cost, discomfort and the threat to the quality of life that illness poses or at least delay the onset of illness. Preventive measures consist of counseling, education and adoption of specific health practices or changes in lifestyle.


a. Mandatory immunization of children belonging to the age range of 0 – 50 months old to control acute infection diseases.

b. Minimizing contamination of the work or general environment by asbestos dust, silicone dust, smoke, chemical pollutants and excessive noise.

Secondary Prevention

It consist of organized, direct screening efforts or education of the public to promote early case finding of an individual with disease so that prompt intervention can be instituted to halt pathologic processes and limit disability. Early diagnosis of a health problem can decrease the catastrophic effects that might otherwise result for the individual and the family from advanced illness and its many complications.


a. Public education to promote breast self-examination, use of home kits for detection of occult blood in stool specimens and familiarity with the seven cancer danger signals.

b. Screening programs for hypertension, diabetes. Uterine cancer (pap smear), breast cancer (examination and mammography), glaucoma and sexually transmitted disease.

Tertiary Prevention

It begins early in the period of recovery from illness and consists of such activities as consistent and appropriate administration of medications to optimize therapeutic effects, moving and positioning to prevent complications of immobility and passive and active exercise to prevent disability. Continuing health supervision during rehabilitation to restore an individual to an optimal level of functioning. Minimizing residual disability and helping the client learn to live productively with limitations are the goals of tertiary prevention. (Pender, 1987)

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