Evaluation of the “Doctor Muda” Health Promotion Program in Malaysia

NASRUDDIN JAAFAR, K OMAR, J AHMAD, W S WAN HUSSEIN, and Z A MANAF (Supported by University of Malaya Research Grant F0717/2003B)


Compared to outcome evaluation, very few studies focused on evaluating the process - thus leading to long-term sustainability problems. This is a “child-to-child” health promotion model for primary schoolchildren called the “Doktor Muda” (DM) where the children are empowered to give health education and conduct health promotion and education activities. After running for more than ten years, what made it self-sustainable?

Objective: to evaluate key factors responsible for the sustainability of these programs. Method: Self-administered questionnaires were sent to 2804 DM's.
Results: Over 90% agreed that it increased their knowledge, contributed to self-development, enjoyable, appropriate, effective, efficient and acceptable. Between 50-89% said the program changed their attitude, they practiced healthier lifestyle, can teach others, better perceived by peers, influenced their career choice and the content was adequate. However less than one-half (42%) still had lack confidence in public speaking. Qualitative evaluation from several focused group discussions (FGD) with 54 DM's corroborated the findings while adding to better understanding of underlying reasons. FGD on 41 parents, 15 teachers and 14 administrators suggest that the program was self-sustainable because the process of peer education freed teachers of much didactic teaching, promoted self-esteem among DM’s, improved communication and public speaking skills and enhanced the school image. The school’s health environment improved from the DM’s surveillance report. These benefits are over and above the increase in health knowledge which was the main objective of the Health Education Unit. Thus the beneficial impact was felt by all stakeholders.

Conclusion: The main reason for sustainability was that the process satisfied the needs of all stakeholders who see the results worthwhile. It is the development of the personal character of the DM’s while teaching and helping other children which were most appreciated by all.

Keywords: health education; health promotion; advocacy for health; schoolchildren; healthy lifestyle.

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1) Nasruddin Jaafar - Professor, Dept. of Community Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

2) K Omar, and J Ahamd - Head, Health Education and Promotion Unit, States of Kelantan and Pahang (respectively), Ministry of Health, Malaysia.

3) W S Wan Hussein - Lecturer, Dept of Policy and Business Strategy, Faculty of Business & Accounting, University of Malaya.

4) Z A Manaf - Professor, Dept. of Educational Psychology & Counselling, Faculty of Education, University of Malaya.



Last updated: 5 April, 2006  


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