“Dr. Hoenikker used to say that any scientist who couldn’t explain to an eight-year-old what he was doing was a charlatan.”
Dr. Breed in Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

These resources are designed for late primary school children (10 to 12 year olds) using a human-centred design approach. We evaluated the effects of these resources in Uganda, where we randomly allocated half of 120 schools (over 10,000 year-five students) to receive the resources. We compared the ability of the children in those schools to apply 12 of the Key Concepts to the ability of the children in the other schools, and found that there was a large effect [Nsangi 2017a].

Project partners are contextualising resources for use in other languages and settings, including translations to: Kiswahili, Kinyarwanda, Spanish, French, Persian.

We welcome contact with new partners.


The Health Choices Book
This textbook for primary school children (10 to 12 year olds) includes a comic story that introduces and explains 12 Key Concepts, instructions for classroom activities, exercises, a list of key messages, and a glossary.

Chapter 2: Personal experiences
This is an animated version of Chapter 2 of the Health Choices Book.


Teachers’ Guide
This guide includes lesson plans and other resources to help teachers using The Health Choices Book.


Exercise Book 
This includes the exercises from The Health Choices Book.


Activity Cards
These cards are for use in Lesson 7 of the The Health Choices Book. The activity is created to demonstrate how comparisons with few people can be misleading.


This poster with the key messages from The Health Choices Book is a checklist for applying the 12 Key Concepts and a reminder of the most important messages in the book.

Think Carefully about Treatments
Song credits: Informed Health Choices team & Swangs Avenue

The lyrics of this song are another reminder of the key messages in the book.

Key features:

The Informed Health Choices (IHC) primary school resources include a textbook and a teachers’ guide. We developed the resources iteratively between 2013 and 2015, using a human-centred design approach. We began by identifying Key Concepts that people need to understand and apply to be able to assess treatment claims and make informed healthcare choices. We then determined that 24 of those concepts are relevant to primary school children.

Based on the findings of pilot testing, we reduced the number of concepts addressed in the resources to 12 concepts, with the intention of developing additional resources in the future to introduce new concepts and reinforce understanding of those concepts. This approach is consistent with the principles of a spiral curriculum.

We designed the resources to be taught over a period of nine weeks, with one double lesson (80 minutes) per week during a single term.

The 12 Key Concepts that are taught in the IHC primary school resources:

Recognising claims about the effects of treatments that have an unreliable basis

• Treatments may be harmful
• Personal experiences or anecdotes (stories) are an unreliable basis for assessing the effects of most treatments
• Widely used treatments or treatments that have been used for a long time are not necessarily beneficial or safe
• New, brand-named, or more expensive treatments may not be better than available alternatives
• Opinions of experts or authorities do not alone provide a reliable basis for deciding on the benefits and harms of treatments
• Conflicting interests may result in misleading claims about the effects of treatments

Understanding whether comparisons of treatments are fair and reliable 

• Identifying effects of treatments depends on making comparisons
• Apart from the treatments being compared, the comparison groups need to be similar at the beginning of a comparison (i.e. ‘like needs to be compared with like’)
• If possible, people should not know which of the treatments being compared they are receiving
• Small studies in which few outcome events occur are usually not informative and the results may be misleading
• The results of single comparisons of treatments can be misleading

Making informed choices about treatments

• Decisions about treatments should not be based on considering only their benefits

See also:
List of all Key Concepts
List of 24 Key Concepts relevant to primary school children


Contact us if you would like to:
Contextualise (e.g. translate or adapt) the resources
Print the resources in high resolution
– Receive a test that can be used to assess the ability of children to apply the 12 Key Concepts


IHC learning resources are in the The eGranary Digital Library, an off-line information store that provides instant access to over 35 million digital resources for those lacking adequate Internet connections.