Empowering Dutch and Surinamese children to prevent viral infections: implications from an international education module

Kifah Shoker, Laura Doornekamp, Bob Horjus, Marlies N. Wagener, Georgina I. Aron, Marco Goeijenbier, Eric C.M. van Gorp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Viral infections have a large share in human morbidity and mortality. Next to vaccinations and hygiene measures, health education plays a role in preventing infections. Social scientists argue that empowerment should be included in health education, as increasing knowledge is insufficient to achieve sustainable behaviour change. Within the international education module 'Viruskenner', primary school students learn how to prevent virus infections by identifying health risks and developing interventions. This qualitative formative study explored to what extent Viruskenner creates conditions in which empowerment processes can arise and take place in the Netherlands and Suriname. Indicators of empowerment, as defined in the literature and placed in the attitude, social influence, and self-efficacy model, were assessed during semi-structured interviews (n = 24) with students, parents, teachers and facilitators. We conclude that Viruskenner is successful in creating conditions for empowerment processes to arise and take place, specifically in attitude and self-efficacy. According to interviewees, the module raised students' motivation, skills and confidence to take action to improve health behaviour. Educators played a stimulating role in the participatory setting in both countries, while content relevance and community involvement differed between the Netherlands and Suriname. These outcomes could improve this module and possibly other health education programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1566-1577
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: [email protected].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s) 2021.


Dive into the research topics of 'Empowering Dutch and Surinamese children to prevent viral infections: implications from an international education module'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this