Children and handwashing: Developing a resource to promote health and well-being in low and middle income countries
Objective: Using a participatory action research (PAR) model, this paper reports on findings from a mixed-methods study which aimed to discover whether specifically developed health education resources (A Germ’s Journey) aid children’s understanding of health-hygiene principles, and how these findings can inform the future development of culturally relevant resources to teach children in low- and middle-income countries about the association between bacteria, handwashing and disease. Design: Educational health-hygiene workshops were conducted at 13 case study sites (n = 651) in collaboration with local organisations in Ahmedabad, India. During Phase 1 of the study, children’s and teacher–trainer workshops were conducted using UK resources. Following suggestions from local teachers, a Gujarati book was co-created and in Phase 2, workshops (using the Gujarati book) were delivered. Methods: Data were collected from children using quasi-experimental methods, using pre-workshop questions, follow-up questions, observations and baseline and post-workshop assessments. Data were collected from teachers using questionnaires. Results: Following teacher–trainer workshops during Phase 1 of the study, 100% of teachers stated that they would use the resources with their pupils in the future. Two months after participating in the workshops, 60%–73% of children knew how germs can cause illness, and 76%–80% knew how to remove germs from hands. When assessed during Phase 2 of the study, 54% of children scored higher after the intervention, showing an increased understanding of microbiology after using the resources. Conclusion: The results indicate that children had an improved understanding of the causes of bacterial disease and the health implications of not using adequate health-hygiene practices. Recommendations for the future development of resources include adopting a PAR model of research, co-creation with end users and working alongside local organisations and participants in order to access ‘hard-to-reach’ areas.
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Citation : Crosby, S., Laird, K. and Younie, S. (2019) Children and handwashing: Developing a resource to promote health and well-being in low and middle income countries. Health Education Journal,
Research Institute : Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- Leicester School of Pharmacy