An investigation into the needs assessment phase of the health education process for school children.
This study investigated the needs assessment phase of the health education process for school children. The objectives of the study were to identify health education needs of school children using three approaches, namely, the epidemiological, consumer and social science approaches. In the social science approach, a PRECEDE model has been used. Time taken in using each approach and the skills of PHC nurses necessary to use each, were investigated in order to determine the most effective and efficient approach. A comparative case study design has been used, whereby each approach was considered as a case, hence, an embedded case study. One rural administrative area in the district of Umtata, which has a health centre in its catchment area, was selected. The population for the sudy were school children aged 12 to 16 years doing standard five. Four out of ten Junior Secondary schools in the area were randomly selected. In the epidemiological approach, records from the health centre and three of the four selected schools were analysed. In the consumer approach, focus group interviews (two groups of boys and two groups of girls) were conducted. In the social science approach, focus group interviews of school children(four groups) from the other two remaining schools, focus group interviews of mothers as carers( four groups), and in-depth interviews of standard five teachers from each of the four schools were conducted. Data analysis was done using Tesch's method of qualitative data analysis.A time activity sheet was used to estimate time used in each approach. A questionnaire was distributed among PHC nurses to determine their skills in relation to the approaches used. Results showed that the social science approach was the most comrehensive approach but used the longest time. The consumer was balanced and efficient though the least time was used. The epidemiological was found to have identified physical problems to the exclusion of the social and psychological problems.