Student Dissertation

Agency : Adolescents; Peer Educators; Empowerment; Capacity Building

Background : The global healthcare sector is on the cusp of a tipping point and it is more evident in developing countries like India, as these countries grapple within key issues such as rapidly aging population, Non-Communicable Disease epidemics, and steady rise in healthcare cost due to raise in out of pocket expenditure. Also with 356 million 10-24 year old, India has world’s largest Youth brigade, despite having the smaller population than China. India hence, would be able to see its economic soar, provided it invests healthily in the youth’s education, health and protect their rights. Peer education involves the use of members of a given group to effect change among other members of the same group. Rationale: A network of adolescents and peers was formed with the help of these Peer Educators. Then to evaluate how effective peer education is and whether it could bring significant changes or not a pre-test was conducted to check the existing knowledge of these adolescents on various health themes. The study was conducted to record responses and quantifies knowledge attained by the adolescents with the help of Peer Educators and how significant it is statistically. Also, it highlights some suggestions on the basis of result obtained and general observations attained in the study duration.

Methodology : A pretest and posttest study design with Systematic Random Sampling was undertaken; sample size of 214 was selected using 5% Margin of error, Confidence Level 95%, from a population of 480 adolescents visiting HIC, the probability of efficacy of Peer Education was taken as 50% (literature Review). Structured questionnaires were prepared which consist of 52 closed ended questions addressing the objectives of the study. Location of the study was North-West Delhi, Holambi Kalan area for Study Duration is Two Months (1st March-30th April’16) and thereafter a post test was conducted. Results of both Pre-and Post Test were tabulated and analyzed using MS Excel and SPSS Software. The statistical test used for analysis–Mc Nemar’s Test.

Findings : This study apart from highlighting the current situation of healthcare and disease burden in India, explains key issues such as youth education, health promotion and youth empowerment as sustainable measures in overall development of the country. For addressing these, Peer Education, Health Information Centers (HIC) and collaboration with CSR wings of various educational and technical institutions have been found out to be effective approaches in the capacity building of young people. Composite Analysis showed that out of 214 respondents, Majority of respondents are the ones who gave incorrect answers during pre-training but their answers are converted/ improved to correct answers after Peer Education Intervention. There is a significant improvement in the number of respondents giving all correct answers after the Peer Education intervention. P values <0.001 shows Pre vs. Post test results are statistically significant and there is a definite improvement in knowledge in the health issues under study, thus we reject the null hypothesis. The results showed that there is a significant improvement in the number of respondents giving all correct answers after the Peer Education intervention.

Recommendations : Pretest on various health issues should be conducted at regular intervals and if the results shows that the knowledge is inadequate than it becomes necessary to conduct training module so that the knowledge and attitude of the adolescents and young people towards their own health and hence of the community is raised. Peer Education should be used rigorously and carefully as a means of health promotion. And the locus should not primarily be in training workshops but in Peer Networks.