Schools health promotion among adolescents in Northern Nigeria

Document Type

Conference Paper


School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa


Background: Jigawa and Kano States, Northern Nigeria have some of the worst human development outcomes globally for adolescents across a wide range of health indicators. Our aim was to understand health awareness, beliefs, and behaviours of adolescents in school in Jigawa and Kano States, to inform prioritization and development of health promotion interventions in the region.

Methods: We carried out a cross-sectional survey followed by focus group discussions (FGDs) with adolescents aged 15 to 20 years from four schools in Jigawa and Kano States (July-August 2019). Adolescents (274 per school) were randomly selected stratified by class-year (SS1 and SS2); 64 participated in FGDs (8 groups of 8). Trained researchers administered a questionnaire face-to-face via smart phones. Topics included: mental health; tobacco use; substance misuse; violence and unintentional injury; physical and dietary behaviours; and hygiene. FGDs investigated topics in greater depth. Here we report prevalence and predictors of mental health calculated from survey responses, and thematic analysis of interview findings.

Results: One thousand and seventy-nine students completed the survey (98%);∼50% girls. Preliminary analysis showed prevalence of moderate-severe anxiety was higher in girls than boys (6.8% girls, 0.8% boys, p < 0.001); and moderate-severe depression (10.3% girls, 0.5% boys, p < 0.001). Up to 50% boys and girls experienced violence or abuse in school, and 16% used a prescription drug without a prescription in past 30 days. Multivariable logistic regression showed female gender (aOR =4.0, 95% CI; 2.7,6.0); 30-day off-prescription drug use - aOR=2.3 (1.5,3.8); and being hit or slapped by a teacher - aOR=1.7, (1.1, 2.6) were predictors of moderate to severe anxiety. Results were similar for moderate to severe depression. Qualitative findings supported and contextualized these results.

Conclusions: Results will inform school-based interventions to improve health of adolescents in the region.

Key messages: Administering a health questionnaire to gather health information of adolescents in school in Kano and Jigawa states, Nigeria was feasible.

Health questionnaire and focus group data will be shared with school and community leaders to shape school-based interventions to improve health outcomes amongst adolescents.


European Journal of Public Health