Exactly one year ago today, a group of experts for whom child participation is a passion and key driver, discussed the whole idea of Child Participation in Health. This group is convened by the Children for Health director, Clare Hanbury and is held approximately once every 6 weeks. Here are the notes from this discussion which we thought of special interest to our CfH community.
Theme of main discussion: children’s participation in health – identifying and overcoming resistance.
Within some child focused agencies there is often increased focus on children’s participation in child protection and education, but less focus in the health sector. In the health sector and in emergency work there is often a tendency to see children’s participation as less relevant, especially in terms of a timely, fast response that is needed to save lives. Despite the existence of excellent resources on children’s participation in health, especially through 30 years of the Child to Child Approach which is focused on children’s participation in health, many of these rich and useful child friendly health education materials are not known or used by health practitioners.Reasons for this were reflected upon and include:
In terms of solutions to help convince health practitioners (doctors, health workers, health staff) about the relevance and importance of children’s participation and child centred approaches to health education and health promotion. Key strategies that are helpful include:
For children to be at the front line of improving nutrition for themselves and each other requires great sensitivity such that the roles of the parents are not undermined or challenged in ways that are inappropriate or potentially damaging. Each family’s circumstance and needs are unique and participatory methodologies are especially suited to meeting different needs. However it takes great skill and particular sensitivity to facilitate this process.
Please do send us any comments or insights you have from reading this post.