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Table of Contents
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 268-270

Rediscovering child-to-child programme – A case study and brief discussion

1 Department of Paediatrics, Mamata Medical College and Hospital, Khammam, Telangana, India
2 Department of General Medicine, Apollo Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Submission12-Jan-2022
Date of Decision28-Jan-2022
Date of Acceptance29-Jan-2022
Date of Web Publication04-Oct-2022

Correspondence Address:
Srivaishnavi Sridhar Madabhushi
Professor, Department of General Medicine, Apollo Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Murukambattu, Chittoor 517127, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcsr.jcsr_6_22

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Child-to-child programme was conceptualized on the eve of the International Year of the Child in 1979. A case study of child-to-child programme piloted in a rural area is documented. A primary schoolboy participated and followed up with seven other children in matters of personal hygiene and health habits and the result of that effort is reported. He documented 95% of the possible responses.

Keywords: Behavioural change communication, child-to-child programme, primary health care, social paediatrics

How to cite this article:
Madabhushi SS, Mohiddin Siddiq MA, Somaiah G, Babji N S, Sridhar M S. Rediscovering child-to-child programme – A case study and brief discussion. J Clin Sci Res 2022;11:268-70

How to cite this URL:
Madabhushi SS, Mohiddin Siddiq MA, Somaiah G, Babji N S, Sridhar M S. Rediscovering child-to-child programme – A case study and brief discussion. J Clin Sci Res [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 7];11:268-70. Available from: https://www.jcsr.co.in/text.asp?2022/11/4/268/357846

  Introduction Top

It is well-known fact that siblings look after one another and school-going children form into friendship groups and take care of one another. Naturally, this includes aspects of health and disease. In resource-scarce scenario, he showed that education and use of locally available resources were more important than the introduction of modern medicine and the building of hospitals in bringing down infant mortality rate by over 80%. Care at the local level, health education, socially acceptable and scientifically sound methods, and self-reliance are the cornerstones of primary health care. Recognising the potential power of children as promoters of primary health care, Morley and Hawes conceived the idea of child to child – Older child looking after the health of the younger child.[1]

The rationale for this programme rests on the fact that there is a school in almost every village. School children are generally inquisitive and highly active. They follow teacher's instructions with zeal and enthusiasm. Teachers are highly respected for their authority and knowledge and the information provided by them is viewed as credible and valuable. Students get motivated by the encouragement by the teachers. One of the aims of school education is to enable the students to cope with immediate health problems. Hence, health education is an integral element of all established subjects. Health-related messages are likely to have a great impact on the impressionistic mind of the students. Good health practices of school are quite likely to have cascading influence on the family of the student and the community at large.

  Case Report Top

This case study is pertaining to a primary school student by the name of visual test and repair residing in a village. He is trained in an informal interaction during a Health Camp about the importance of personal hygiene and healthy habits and instructed to pass on these messages to his sibling and other friends. He was encouraged to maintain a record of the result. He acted accordingly and followed it up and reinforced the health practices of his sibling and six other children in the neighbourhood. Record of work done in one week is shown in [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Record of work done in one week

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Some of the health-related components for which awareness is created are the need for regular brushing of teeth and bathing, putting on clean washed clothes, proper grooming as a social and healthy lifestyle requirement, personal hygiene including hand hygiene, regular studies, participation in sports and games and adequate and timely sleep. This school-going child verified 10 health-related activities in 8 individuals for 6 days. Thus, he attempted to verify 480 bits of health-related activities and involved himself in health communication, a type of behavioural change communication. His document shows one individual missed such activities on 13 occasions. He documented 456 episodes of the actual practice of health-related activities out of possible 480 (95%). One individual practiced ten health-related activities for all 6 days. One individual missed such activities on 13 occasions. On average 3 activities were missed by member of the group.

This is a simple inventory of activities to maintain personal hygiene and healthy habits. During day-to-day routine social interaction, children can be primed to take up simple health messages to be spread in the neighbourhood during their daily school and playtime routine. Because of peer pressure, these aims are likely to be achieved easily.

  Discussion Top

It may be difficult to persuade adults responsible for health and education to work harmoniously together but children invariably respond positively and so they may be effective agents of change.[2] The children improved significantly not only in their knowledge but also in terms of desirable behavioural change. This was particularly evident among the children than in the adults[3] The well-known adage 'catch people young' works for any cause. Hence, this potential child power can be harnessed for ensuring effective primary health care, especially in the realm of health education. This strategy was used successfully in the pulse polio immunisation (PPI) programme for motivating people to participate in PPI campaigns. Students of Class V were used to spread health messages.[4] Health education on tuberculosis was also carried out using a similar method. Training for elder children is useful for rearing younger children and brings down preventable illnesses and promotes health.[5] The role of children in combating antibiotic resistance has been studied and it has been suggested that science education needs to improve commensurate to contemporary needs.[6] Engagement with the school should focus to give them the tools needed to make responsible decisions on health-related issues. The creative processes of identifying health-related problem areas and solutions in their school setting has been studied and it was concluded that children are visionary and creative agents of change in health promotion projects when participatory methods appealing to them are planned and implemented.[7] Programmes like child to child is very useful in imparting knowledge and fostering a positive attitude resulting in reduction in the morbidity level among children and their family members.[8]

The scientific basis for child-to-child programme may have the basis on modelling as well as on the concept of shaping in operant conditioning. These are powerful tools of ensuring desirable behavioural changes. Children learn to imitate behaviours they have observed in other significant people and get reinforced when their behavioural change finds social approval. By a step-by-step approach called successive approximation, the desired change behaviour occurs eventually.[9] As children are innocent, and generally valued highly and loved by one and all, their efforts are likely to have some influence on the behaviour of adults also. This type of behavioural change can have a positive cascading effect on health promotion. Even modest success of health-related communication and advocacy by children is likely to have a substantial and long-lasting impact if real change in attitude and health-related behaviour occurs.

Child-to-child programme is certain to enhance the personal growth of the child and foster humanism. Child-to-child programme has become an International Programme and has found applications as child-to-oldies programme, and child to Community programme. The utility of the child-to-child programme can be explored as an additional and cost-effective strategy in coping with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus -2 disease (COVID 19) pandemic. Child-to-child programme appears to play a useful role in contemporary primary health practice, especially in fostering health-related habits.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Webb JK. Child to child: An approach to the health education of primary school-age children. Pediatrician 1988;15:122-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
Morley D. The very young as agents of change. World Health Forum 1993;14:23-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Onyango-Ouma W, Aagaard-Hansen J, Jensen BB. The potential of school children as health change agents in rural Western Kenya. Soc Sci Med 2005;61:1711-22.  Back to cited text no. 3
Mishra G. When child becomes a teacher – The child to child programme. Indian J Community Med 2006;31:277-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
  [Full text]  
Mohapatra SC, Sankar H, Mohapatra P. Child-to-child: The programme in survival and development of children. Indian J Matern Child Health 1993;4:118-21.  Back to cited text no. 5
Molnar A. Children as agents of change in combatting antibiotic resistance. J Health Serv Res Policy 2017;22:258-60.  Back to cited text no. 6
Clausen LT, Schmidt C, Aagaard-Hansen J, Reinbach HC, Toft U, Bloch P. Children as visionary change agents in Danish school health promotion. Health Promot Int 2019;34:e18-27.  Back to cited text no. 7
Walvekar PR, Naik VA, Wantamutte AS. Mallapur MD. Impact of child to child programme on knowledge, attitude practice regarding diarrhoea among rural school children. Indian J Community Med 2006;31:56-9.  Back to cited text no. 8
  [Full text]  
Peterson GB. A day of great illumination: B. F. skinner's discovery of shaping. J Exp Anal Behav 2004;82:317-28.  Back to cited text no. 9


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