Peer based approaches can be cost-effective

It has been shown that programs designed around peers are cost effective in comparison to other interventions requiring the use of health professionals and complex resourcing.1,2

Initiatives can be comparatively economical to manage, for reasons including:

  • little or no payment to peers in comparison with that made to health professionals;
  • the potential informality of peer-based programs versus highly structured interventions, and
  • the fact that peer-based programs are often conducted in settings where peers already live, work and interact.3-5

While the costs of professional staff and complex resourcing may not be of an issue and may contribute to keeping program costs comparably low, other considerations need to be kept in mind. It should be acknowledged that a peer-based project that is properly designed will still necessitate training, development of resources such as training packages and print materials and design of evaluation instruments, as well as ongoing supervision and support of peers (within many programs), all of which have the potential to require financial outlay.4,6,7


  1. Turner, G 1999, ‘Peer support and young people’s health’, Journal of Adolescence, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 567-72.
  2. Turner, G & Shepherd, J 1999, ‘A method in search of a theory: peer education and health promotion’, Health Education Research, vol. 14, no. 2, p. 235.
  3. Cowie, H 1999, ‘Peers helping peers: Interventions, initiatives and insights’, Editorial, Journal of Adolescence, vol. 22, p. 433-436.
  4. Green, J 2001, ‘Peer education’, International Union Health Promotion and Education: Promotion and Education, vol. 8, no.2, pp. 65-68.
  5. International Planned Parenthood Federation 2004, Peer to Peer: Creating Successful Peer Education Programs, International Planned Parenthood Federation. Western Hemisphere Region, Inc. (IPPF/WHR), New York.
  6. Goren, N & Wright, K 2006, Peer Education as a drug prevention strategy, in Prevention Research Quarterly: current evidence evaluated, DrugInfo Clearinghouse: West Melbourne, Victoria.
  7. Parkin, S & McKeganey, N 2000, ‘The rise and rise of peer education approaches’, Drugs; Education, Prevention and Policy, vol. 7, no. 3, p. 293.