Digital Public Defence: Allen Nsangi

MSc Allen Nsangi at Institute of Health and Society will be defending the thesis “An educational intervention to enable children to assess claims about the benefits and harms of treatments” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

Photo: Arnold Lule Sekiwano.

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so

Click here to participate in the digital public defence

Download Zoom here


Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Jimmy Volmink, Stellenbosch University
  • Second opponent: Professor Kjell Sverre Pettersen, OsloMet
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Astrid Klopstad Wahl, University of Oslo
  • Substitute chair of the evaluation committee: Associate Professor Anja Maria Lyche Brænd

Chair of the Defence

Professor emeritus Ole Rikard Haavet, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor Atle Fretheim, Norwegian Institute of Public Health


Claims about the effectiveness of health interventions are everywhere. People are constantly asking: What works and what does not? What improves our health and what is harmful? In the current COVID-19 pandemic, claims such as, “hydroxychloroquine cures COVID-19” are rife. Many such claims are unreliable and often time people are unable to distinguish reliable from unreliable claims.

People’s inability to assess the reliability of health claims leads to misplaced trust in unreliable claims, which leads to harm and resource wastage, with the most effect felt in low-income countries with already limited resources.

This work had four main objectives: i) develop resources that teach primary school children in Uganda to assess health claims and make informed health choices, ii) evaluate the impact of the resources on children’s ability to think critically about health claims and choices, iii) explore unintended consequences, as well as factors that might affect scaling up use of resources and iv) ascertain if children retained what they had learnt for at least one year.

Using a human-centred design approach, we developed resources that most children and teachers found relevant, were easy to use and appropriate for their context, and that were effective in teaching children critical thinking. We now know that it is possible to teach children to think critically about health claims and choices on a large scale in a low-income country.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.





Published Nov. 27, 2020 11:16 AM - Last modified Dec. 14, 2020 9:24 AM