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J Health Commun. 2000;5 Suppl:61-80.

Peer promotion programs and social networks in Ghana: methods for monitoring and evaluating AIDS prevention and reproductive health programs among adolescents and young adults.

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Johns Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


This article summarizes the observations and lessons learned regarding the application of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) prevention and reproductive health evaluation methodologies in the context of adolescent and young adult populations and discusses the use of peer network evaluation to understand the dynamics of peer promotion. To examine the interpersonal communication process of peer education, this study tested a new approach using multiple semistructured interviews and network analysis to collect data on 106 peer educators and 526 of their contacts. These evaluation activities were conducted at three sites in Ghana during April 1998, in both periurban and rural locations in both in-school and out-of-school settings. By evaluating the social networks of peer educators it was possible to gain a better understanding of the process of peer education in terms of (a) defining the composition of peer contacts, (b) identifying the social norms that play a critical role in youth decision making, and (c) observing the range of messages and services transmitted during peer education. The objective of this paper is to disseminate the experience of the Center for Education and Development of Population Activities (CEDPA) and Focus on Young Adult's cooperative development of evaluation methodologies for peer promotion and to highlight utilization of these methodologies in a case study in Ghana. The results will be discussed in terms of their possible implications for program managers, researchers, and international agencies.

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