Growing healthy children and communities: Children's insights in Lao People's Democratic Republic.

Global Public Health

PubMedID: 27021373

Ruiz-Casares M. Growing healthy children and communities: Children's insights in Lao People's Democratic Republic. Glob Public Health. 2016;11(5-6):564-82.
A diverse group of 103 children aged 7-11 years old living in family and residential care in rural and urban settings in two northern provinces in Lao People's Democratic Republic participated in group discussions using images and community mapping. Children's identified sources of risk and protection illustrate primary public health and protection concerns and resources. Young children worried about lack of hygiene, unintentional injuries, corporal punishment, and domestic violence. They also expressed concern about gambling and children sleeping in the streets, even if they had never seen any of the latter in their communities. In contrast, food and shelter; artistic, religious, and cultural practices; supportive interpersonal relationships; and schooling largely evoked feelings of safety and belonging. Images that prompted conflicting interpretations surfaced individual and contextual considerations that nuanced analysis. Researchers and decision-makers will benefit from using this developmentally appropriate, context-sensitive child-centred visual method to elicit young children's views of risk and protection. It may also serve as a tool for public health education. Involving young children in the initial selection of images would further enhance the efficiency of the method.