Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Peer Education: Participatory Qualitative Educational Needs Assessment

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Peer Education: Participatory Qualitative Educational Needs Assessment

Article excerpt

Abstract

Background: In the area of youth health, peers education is an approach to health promotion. Assess the training needs of peers educators clarifies the components, values, and quality of training protocols. Aim to that we conducted a participatory educational needs assessment of youth peer educators.

Methods: Involving youth and key informants in direct collaboration with research team, a qualitative approach was planned based on grounded theory. For data collection a semi-structured guide questioning was designed. Sixteen fo-cus group discussions and 8 in depth interview were held.

Results: The majority of participants emphasized on the importance of mental health, life skills, AIDS prevention, contraception methods, and healthy nutrition as the main training topics. They were extremely interested into the comprehensive educational material among their participatory role in peer programs.

Conclusion: The training programs should be well defined based on the knowledge, skills and behavior of peers. During the implementation, training programs should be followed to meet the ongoing educational needs of service providers.

Keywords: Peer education, Education, Needs assessment, Health

Introduction

In recent years peers education, as well trained peers who could provide a practical example of healthy behavior, has developed in the field of health promotion (1). It typically by partnership with leading members of target groups leads to changes in other members of the same group. Such changes depending on the designed pro-grams can be included on modifying the persons' knowledge, attitudes, beliefs or behaviors (2).

According to available results, peer education and peer support counseling programs, through shar-ing common experiences on common situations, provide the appropriate supportive qualification for health promotion (3, 4). This effect, especially in specific situations and sensitive issues such as reproductive health problems or HIV/AIDS in-fected cases, is more highlighted. In this regard youth health providing programs should be more developed through future research on the selec- tion, training, and integration of peer educators into community participatory programs (5, 6).

In Iran more than 36% of the total population belong to the age group between15 to 25 years which have an important role in future economic and social development of the country(7,8).Their special health needs is one of the most important priority of health policy makers(9). Despite of this, the related practical studies are limited (6, 10).

These groups have the highest incidence rate for health problems(8).Setting health research priori-ties reveal that the lifestyles (physical activity, nu-tritional habits), risky behaviors and various as-pects of mental health are the top health problems of these age groups (11, 12).There is a growing need in the field of youth health services that should be followed according to their own real specific needs and preference(13,14).Aim to that, related studies emphasized on the role of well trained peers as capable human resource in health- related programmers (1,15).

There are significant reported achivment on various application of the peer-based health interventions.From them some instanse are introduced as the best practices(16-19).Based on the lesson learned different models are developed and proposed forvoluntary peer health services (20).

As a part of comprehensive community based study, we assessd the educational needs of youth peer educators. In order to achieve maximum level of participants' confidence and maximum transparency of results we benefited from a participatory qualitative approach(21).

Materials and Methods

This is a participatory research envolved youth and related key informants in direct collaboration with research team.The project was conducted in 2009. As it was a vast multidimensional study, present paper has focused on the results of educational needs assessment of youth who were volunteers for peer health education and peer counseling programs. …

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