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Evaluation of a programme that aims to create awareness about height and weight monitoring and provide health education for adolescent girls in Bangladesh

Piper, C; (1991) Evaluation of a programme that aims to create awareness about height and weight monitoring and provide health education for adolescent girls in Bangladesh. Masters thesis (M.Sc), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This study evaluated the usefulness of a health card developed by ODA, in conjunction with a Bangladeshi NGO, to improve the awareness and health of adolescent girls in Bangladesh. Aims. The aims of the card used at the SBMSS programme, Rajshahi, were to create awareness about height and weight and regular growth monitoring, to provide health education to enable the girls to care for their own health, and to encourage them to delay their age of marriage. Methods. The health cards of 159 girls were collected and the data in them analyzed. Questionnaires were used to test their health knowledge and awareness on family life topics. Some interviews were also done with the 8 FHWs. Results on the growth data. There was very little awareness about height and weight amongst the girls. Thirteen and thirty one girls had knowledge about their own height and weight respectively. None of the girls related their measurements to the "at risk" line or future pregnancy. Only 9 girls were above the "at risk" line for height and weight. From the inter and intra observer variation data it appeared there was a significant amount of variance between the FHWs in their measuring of each girl and between each FHW measuring one girl. The growth card is probably insensitive to small increases in height and weight. MUAC data is collected and not utilised. Results on the health messages. The girls were knowledgeable about the health messages on the cards. Some practises that are universal (such as brushing teeth) do not need to be included on the card; the space could be better used for another message. Certain illustrations are not recognised and need to be improved. The main source of knowledge about ORS and immunisations was reported to be the clinic (including the FHWs) which is encouraging. There needs to be more depth to the information given and it needs to be broader in order to encompass the stated objectives of SBMSS. There also needs to be more contact time, in order to cover the objectives. Results of Family Life Ouestionnaire. From interviews with 52 girls, some of their families and the 8 FHWs, it was apparent that the girls had little control over when they married. This is decided by their parents. If the programme wants to delay the age of marriage it must be done by working with all members of the family. The age of marriage may be increased by extending education for the girls. The girls were aware that 20 or more years was a "good" age to marry. Forty nine girls interviewed were unprepared for the onset of their first menstruation, despite the objectives to provide adequate knowledge on this subject. Forty seven girls expressed no sex preference for a boy or girl child and 42 of them said that they would not have more children if their desired number of children were all girls. The question is, will they have the power or influence to put their knowledge into practise. Conclusion. The health card needs modification- to make it either a sensitive growth card or a more user friendly awareness creating device. Unless the weighing and height scales are upgraded the latter is probably the more appropriate. Some illustrations need improving and others possibly replacing with a more important message. The programme has potential for expanding its health and family education role. To do this there is a need for a more structured approach, a curriculum, teaching aids and training of the staff to give them the necessary skills to work with the girls. It is also important to find out what the girls want to know and to encourage active participation. This would reduce the problem of the girls being perceived as "hard to motivate" and the girls would gain more from the programme. Special attention needs to be given to those girls not in school, in order to provide them with some access to information. Finally, the girls have gained a certain amount of freedom in that they are allowed to go to the clinic and meet other girls. In a society that is slowly changing these girls are experiencing a new independence.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Sc
Title: Evaluation of a programme that aims to create awareness about height and weight monitoring and provide health education for adolescent girls in Bangladesh
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10129506
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