The Farmer Field School: a method for enhancing the role of rural communities in malaria control ?
Malaria has strong linkages with agriculture, and farmers in malarious regions have a central position in creating or controlling the conditions that favour disease transmission. An interdisciplinary and integrated approach is needed to involve farmers and more than one sector in control efforts. It is suggested that malaria control can benefit from a complementary intervention in rural development, the Farmer Field School (FFS) on Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This is a form of education that uses experiential learning methods to build farmers' expertise, and has proven farm-level and empowerment effects. The benefits of incorporating malaria control into the IPM curriculum are discussed. An example of a combined health-agriculture curriculum, labeled Integrated Pest and Vector Management (IPVM), developed in Sri Lanka is presented. Institutional ownership and support for IPVM could potentially be spread over several public sectors requiring a process for institutional learning and reform. (+info
Is the Internet a useful and relevant source for health and health care information retrieval for German cardiothoracic patients? First results from a prospective survey among 255 patients at a German cardiothoracic surgical clinic.
BACKGROUND: It is not clear how prevalent Internet use among cardiopathic patients in Germany is and what impact it has on the health care utilisation. We measured the extent of Internet use among cardiopathic patients and examined the effects that Internet use has on users' knowledge about their cardiac disease, health care matters and their use of the health care system. METHODS: We conducted a prospective survey among 255 cardiopathic patients at a German university hospital. RESULTS: Forty seven respondents (18 %) used the internet and 8,8 % (n = 23) went online more than 20 hours per month. The most frequent reason for not using the internet was disinterest (52,3 %). Fourteen patients (5,4 %) searched for specific disease-related information and valued the retrieved information on an analogous scale (1 = not relevant, 5 = very relevant) on median with 4,0. Internet use is age and education dependent. Only 36 (14,1 %) respondents found the internet useful, whereas the vast majority would not use it. Electronic scheduling for ambulatory visits or postoperative telemedical monitoring were rather disapproved. CONCLUSION: We conclude that Internet use is infrequent among our study population and the search for relevant health and disease related information is not well established. (+info
Parents of deaf children seeking hearing loss-related information on the internet: the Australian experience.
Parents whose children are diagnosed in an infant screening program are required to make some difficult choices about the management of the hearing loss at a time when they are emotionally vulnerable. They are required to evaluate information and outcomes regarding issues such as technology for hearing impairment, communication options, education, and rehabilitation. The World Wide Web has become an important resource of health information for both health consumers and practitioners. The ability to obtain accurate health information online quickly, conveniently, and privately provides opportunity to make informed decisions. However, little is known about the level of the use of the Internet to acquire health information, particularly in the case of parents of deaf children seeking information. This study confirms that searches for health information on the Internet are conducted primarily by mothers. In the Australian context, there is minimal online information available to families beyond early intervention. Information on education issues, mental health, and deafness or the day-to-day management of a child or adolescent with a hearing loss are neglected topics on Web sites. This study also revealed that the majority of respondents had never visited HealthInsite or Medline Plus, two gateway sites for reliable consumer health information, although the information on these sites is more generic in nature and unlikely to assist parents to make informed choices on complex issues such as communication options or education. However, the study suggested that half the parents have talked to their doctor or hearing professional about information they found on the Internet, which is an encouraging tendency. (+info
Providing information about a flavor to preschoolers: effects on liking and memory for having tasted it.
This study sought to determine if providing affectively positive information about a flavor to preschool-aged children during tasting will increase recognition of and liking for the flavor and if the recognition and liking are associated. Forty-six 3- to 6-year-old children tasted 10 flavors: 5 presented with affectively positive information and 5 without. The 10 flavors were then presented again interspersed with 10 distracter flavors. Children reported whether they had tasted the flavor previously and provided hedonic ratings for each flavor. Children's ability to remember having tasted a flavor was greater when the flavor was presented with affectively positive information than without in children throughout the age range of 3-6 years. In children younger than 4.5 years, the provision of information had no effect on hedonic rating, whereas in older children, the provision of information was associated with greater hedonic ratings. We conclude that providing affectively positive information to children about a flavor can increase their ability to recognize the flavor as previously tasted and increases hedonic rating of the flavor in children older than 4.5 years. (+info
Health information seeking among Mbararan adolescents: results from the Uganda Media and You survey.
To maximize scarce intervention dollars, pediatricians and other adolescent health professionals must position health promotion efforts in mediums that most effectively reach youth. This may be especially true in resource-limited settings where access to primary health care and medications is limited. To improve the efficiency and impact of disease prevention and health promotion efforts in resource-limited settings, we examine sources of health information cited by adolescents in Mbarara Uganda. Participants in the Uganda Media and You survey were students aged 12-18 (n = 500) randomly identified in five secondary schools in Mbarara municipality, Uganda. Ninety-three percent of eligible and invited youth completed the cross-sectional, pencil-and-paper survey. Four in five adolescents (81%) indicated they turned to parents, teachers, and other adults while around half read a book/went to the library (56%) or turned to siblings and friends (50%) for information about health and disease. More than one in three (38%) indicated that they used the computer and Internet to search for health information. Older versus younger respondents tended to rely upon siblings and friends for all types of health questions. On the other hand, younger versus older youth were significantly more likely to turn to parents, teachers, and other adults for their questions about sexual health. Adults may be an important component of effective disease prevention and health promotion campaigns. Multiple delivery methods may be especially effective for reaching older adolescents. Technology also may be an important health promotion tool in resource-limited settings. (+info
Evaluating environmental tobacco smoke exposure in a group of Turkish primary school students and developing intervention methods for prevention.
BACKGROUND: In countries like Turkey where smoking is highly prevalent, children's exposure to tobacco smoke is an important public health problem. The goals of this study were to determine the self-reported environmental tobacco smoke exposure status of primary school students in grades 3 to 5, to verify self-reported exposure levels with data provided from a biomarker of exposure, and to develop methods for preventing school children from passive smoking. METHODS: The study was conducted on 347 primary school students by using a standard questionnaire and urinary cotinine tests. Children with verified ETS exposure were randomly assigned to 2 intervention groups. Two phone interviews were conducted with the parents of the first group regarding their children's passive smoking status and its possible consequences. On the other hand, a brief note concerning urinary cotinine test result was sent to parents of the second group. Nine months after the initial urinary cotinine tests, measurements were repeated in both groups. RESULTS: According to questionnaire data, 59.9% of the study group (208 of 347) were exposed to ETS. Urinary cotinine measurements of children were highly consistent with the self-reported exposure levels (P < 0.001). Two different intervention methods were applied to parents of the exposed children. Control tests suggested a remarkable reduction in the proportion of those children demonstrating a recent exposure to ETS in both groups. Proportions of children with urinary cotinine concentrations 10 ng/ml or lower were 79.5% in Group I and 74.2% in Group II (P > 0.05). CONCLUSION: Self-reported ETS exposure was found to be pretty accurate in the 9-11 age group when checked with urinary cotinine tests. Only informing parents that their children' ETS exposure were confirmed by a laboratory test seems to be very promising in preventing children from ETS. (+info
Developing a consumer evaluation tool of weight control strategy advertisements on the Internet.
To develop two evaluation tools for weight loss and weight gain advertisements on the Internet in order to help consumers to evaluate the quality of information within these advertisements. One hundred websites identified by Internet search engines for weight loss and weight gain strategies (50 websites each) were evaluated using two specific scoring instruments, developed by adapting questions from the 'DISCERN' tool and reviewing all related weight control guidelines and advertising regulations. The validity and reliability of the adapted tools were tested. Our evaluation tools rated the information from most websites as poor quality (70%). In the case of weight loss strategies, statements about rapid (18%) and permanent (28%) weight loss caused concern as well as lack of sensible advice about dieting and a lack of product warnings (84%). Safety concerns relating to weight gain products were the lack of warnings about side effects in products containing steroids and creatine (92%). The adapted tools exhibited acceptable validity and reliability. Quality of information within weight control advertisements on the Internet was generally poor. Problems of false claims, little advice on healthy ways to modify weight and few warnings on side effects have been highlighted in this study. (+info
The development and evaluation of written medicines information for type 2 diabetes.
Written Medicines Information (WMI) is regarded as a key component in diabetes consumer education. In Australia, there is a paucity of WMI that specifically tailors to the extensive array of medicines used for the lifelong management of Type 2 diabetes. This research project aimed to employ a novel framework, the 'Consumer Involvement Cycle', to investigate consumer perspectives and needs of medicines information for Type 2 diabetes and develop appropriate WMI for the Type 2 diabetes population. The Consumer Involvement Cycle involved people with Type 2 diabetes and health professionals (HPs) working in partnership to design a series of WMI, incorporating a range of consumer-conceived ideas and concepts with professional evaluation from an expert panel of reviewing HPs. A total of 12 leaflets were developed. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Score for the leaflets was approximately 8.0, which is considered to be 'fairly easy', in other words easily understood by a large proportion of the general public. The Consumer Involvement Cycle was validated as a useful framework in developing and evaluating appropriate consumer information. Consumer perspectives should be sought and well incorporated throughout the process of designing and assessing educational materials intended for consumer use. (+info