A community-wide infant mortality review: findings and implications.
The authors present the results of a community-wide infant mortality review, describe implications for the delivery of maternal and child health services, and discuss the value of such reviews in addressing local public health concerns. The review included an analysis of birth and death certificates and medical record data; maternal interviews; review of cases and development of recommendations by provider panels; and convening of community groups to develop strategies to improve the health and health care of women and infants. The review focused on 287 infant deaths during 1990-1993. More than half of all neonatal deaths were attributable to "previable" or "borderline viable" births. Sexually transmitted infections were the most frequently identified underlying risk, and smoking was the most frequently identified prenatal risk. Homelessness, physical and sexual abuse, and alcohol use were at least twice as likely among women whose babies died than among a high risk comparison group. Panelists identified fragmented health care over the course of women's reproductive lives as a predominant theme. The authors conclude that: (a) The focus of maternal and child health care should shift to a model of women's health care that addresses the chronicity of social and clinical risks. (b) Infant mortality reviews are a valuable tool for community education, systems review, and policy development and can be applied to other public health issues with local significance. (c) Expectations about the review process's ability to produce conclusions about causality or recommendations narrowly geared to reducing infant mortality rates need to be reframed. (d) The model will be strengthened by greater participation of families affected by infant death. (+info)
Cluster randomised trials in maternal and child health: implications for power and sample size.
BACKGROUND: Interventions based in the community can be evaluated by randomising clusters, such as general practices, rather than individuals, as in conventional randomised trials. This increases the sample size needed because of intracluster correlation. AIMS: To estimate sample size requirements for cluster randomised trials of interventions based in general practice directed at common health problems affecting mothers and infants. METHODS: Data were collected from a pilot trial of the effect of Citizen's Advice Bureau services involving six general practices. Outcome measures included the Edinburgh postnatal depression score, the Warwick child health and morbidity profile, number of visits to the general practitioner, and two questionnaires delivered at the beginning and end of the study. Intracluster correlation coefficients and inflation factors (the ratio of the sample size required for a cluster randomised trial to that required for an individually randomised trial) were calculated. RESULTS: Intracluster correlation coefficients ranged from 0 (sleeping problems, accidental injury, hospitalisation) to 0.09 (maternal smoking), with most being < 0.04 (for example, maternal depression, breast feeding, general health, minor illness, behavioural problems, and visits to the general practitioner). Assuming 50 cases/practice, cluster randomised trials require sample sizes up to 3 times greater than individually randomised trials for most health outcomes measured. CONCLUSIONS: These data enable sample sizes to be estimated for cluster randomised trials into a range of maternal and child health outcomes. Using such a design, approximately 40 practices would be sufficient to evaluate the effect of an intervention on maternal depression, sleeping, and behavioural problems, and non-routine visits to the general practitioner. (+info)
Maternal and child health services in rural Nepal: does access or quality matter more?
This study seeks to establish the relative importance of service access and quality on utilization of preventive health services in the western and middle-western Hill region of Nepal. Access was measured in terms of travel time to the nearest health post and coverage by outreach workers. The quality of static services was defined in structural terms: physical infrastructure, number of staff, availability of drugs and holding of special maternal and child health clinics. The initial analysis showed that no single indicator of quality was of overriding importance and therefore an overall quality index was constructed. After adjustment for access and for socioeconomic characteristics of families and communities, a very pronounced relationship between overall structural quality of the nearest health post and service uptake persisted. The adjusted odds of using some form of antenatal service were 6.6 times higher in the catchment areas of high quality posts than in areas served by low quality posts. The corresponding figure for receipt of BCG vaccination is 8.1. By comparison, the effects of travel time to the nearest health post are modest. Uptake of services is about twice as high when there is a health post in the community. Regular monthly visits by outreach workers also had a marked effect on service utilization. These results suggest that investment in the quality of health posts is more important than further increases in their number and that a further expansion of outreach services is a priority. (+info)
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) primary prevention through FAS diagnosis: I. Identification of high-risk birth mothers through the diagnosis of their children.
A 5-year, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) primary prevention study was conducted in Washington State to: (1) assess the feasibility of using a FAS diagnostic and prevention clinic as a centre for identifying and targeting primary prevention intervention to high-risk women (namely women who had given birth to a child with FAS); (2) generate a comprehensive, lifetime profile of these women; (3) identify factors that have enhanced and/or hindered their ability to achieve abstinence. The results of this study are presented in two parts: work on objective 1 is summarized in the present paper; whereas that on objectives 2 and 3 is summarized in the accompanying paper. This project demonstrated that a multidisciplinary FAS Diagnostic and Prevention Network (FAS DPN) clinic could successfully attract and meet the diagnostic and treatment planning needs of patients presenting with prenatal alcohol exposure. One out of every three patients evaluated in the FAS DPN clinics was diagnosed with FAS or static encephalopathy/alcohol exposed. The birth mothers of one out of every three of these children diagnosed with FAS or static encephalopathy/alcohol exposed could be located and directly contacted. Half of the birth mothers directly contacted were still at risk for producing more children damaged by prenatal alcohol exposure. Thus, one out of every 18 children evaluated in the FAS DPN clinics had a birth mother who could be found and was at risk of producing more children damaged by prenatal alcohol exposure. Primary prevention programmes targeted to this high-risk population could lead to measurable, cost-effective reductions in the incidence of FAS. Using this approach, the cost of raising a child with FAS would be roughly 30 times the cost of preventing FAS in the child. The benefit to the children, their mothers, and society would be immeasurable. (+info)
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) primary prevention through fas diagnosis: II. A comprehensive profile of 80 birth mothers of children with FAS.
A 5-year, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) primary prevention study was conducted in Washington State to: (1) assess the feasibility of using a FAS diagnostic and prevention clinic as a centre for identifying and targeting primary prevention intervention to high-risk women; (2) generate a comprehensive, lifetime profile of these women; (3) identify factors that have enhanced and/or hindered their ability to achieve abstinence. The results of this study are presented in two parts. Objective 1 is summarized in the preceding paper and objectives 2 and 3 are summarized here. Comprehensive interviews were conducted with 80 women, who had given birth to a child diagnosed with FAS, to document their sociodemographics, reproductive and family planning history, social and healthcare utilization patterns, adverse social experiences, social support network, alcohol use and treatment history, mental health, and intelligence quotient (IQ). These high-risk women were diverse in racial, educational and economic backgrounds, were often victims of abuse, and challenged by mental health issues. Despite their rather harsh psychosocial profile, many demonstrated the ability to overcome their alcohol dependence over time. Relative to the women who had not achieved abstinence, the women who had achieved abstinence had significantly higher IQs, higher household incomes, larger more satisfactory social support networks, were more likely to report a religious affiliation, and were more likely to be receiving mental health treatment for their mental health disorders. The rate of unintended pregnancies and alcohol-exposed pregnancies was substantial. Key barriers to achieving effective family planning were maternal alcohol and drug use, lack of access to birth control and lack of support by their partner to use birth control. A FAS diagnostic and prevention clinic can be used to identify women at high risk for producing children damaged by prenatal alcohol exposure. Primary prevention programmes targeted to this population could lead to measurable reductions in the incidence of FAS. (+info)
Factors associated with trends in infant and child mortality in developing countries during the 1990s.
The 1990s have seen a remarkable decrease in mortality among infants and children in most developing countries. In some countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, these declines in mortality among children have slowed and are now increasing again. Internationally comparable data derived from survey programmes, such as the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) programme, are available both to document the changes that have occurred in mortality and to provide insight into some of the factors that may explain these trends in mortality. The factors found in repeated DHS programmes that explain these trends fall into five categories: fertility behaviour; nutritional status, breastfeeding, and infant feeding; the use of health services by mothers and for children; environmental health conditions; and socioeconomic status. Both simple analyses and multivariate analyses of changes in these factors between surveys indicate that all factors affected the mortality trends. However, to explain trends in mortality, the variables themselves had to have changed over time. During the 1990s fertility behaviour, breastfeeding, and infant feeding have changed less than other factors and so would seem to have played a smaller role in mortality trends. This study confirms that trends in mortality during the 1990s were related to more than just a handful of variables. It would, therefore, be a mistake to concentrate policy actions on one or a few of these while forsaking others. Countries with the largest decreases in mortality have had substantial improvements in most of the factors that might be used to explain these changes. In some countries mortality has risen. In part these increases can be explained by the factors included in this study, such as deterioration in seeking medical care for children with fever. Other factors that were not measured, such as the increasing resistance of malaria to drug treatment and the increased prevalence of parental HIV/AIDS, may be contributing to the increase noted. (+info)
Coping with changing conditions: alternative strategies for the delivery of maternal and child health and family planning services in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The door-to-door distribution of contraceptives and information on maternal and child health and family planning (MCH-FP) services, through bimonthly visits to eligible couples by trained fieldworkers, has been instrumental in increasing the contraceptive prevalence rate and immunization coverage in Bangladesh. The doorstep delivery strategy, however, is labour-intensive and costly. More cost-effective service delivery strategies are needed, not only for family planning services but also for a broader package of reproductive and other essential health services. Against this backdrop, operations research was conducted by the Centre for Health and Population Research at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) from January 1996 to May 1997, in collaboration with government agencies and a leading national nongovernmental organization, with a view to developing and field-testing alternative approaches to the delivery of MCH-FP services in urban areas. Two alternative strategies featuring the withdrawal of home-based distribution and the delivery of basic health care from fixed-site facilities were tested in two areas of Dhaka. The clinic-based service delivery strategy was found to be a feasible alternative to the resource-intensive doorstep system in urban Dhaka. It did not adversely affect programme performance and it allowed the needs of clients to be addressed holistically through a package of essential health and family planning services. (+info)
Role of victims' services in improving intimate partner violence screening by trained maternal and child health-care providers--Boston, Massachusetts, 1994-1995.
From 1992 to 1996, approximately 1 million incidents of nonfatal intimate partner violence (IPV) occurred each year in the United States; 85% of victims were women. In 1989, pediatric research found a concurrence of victimization of mothers and their children and supported a recommendation that maternal and child health-care providers (HCPs) pursue training and advocate for increased access to services to promote the safety and well-being of mothers and their children. From 1992 to 1997, the Pediatric Family Violence Awareness Project (PFVAP), a training project for maternal and child HCPs, promoted prevention of and intervention for IPV in Massachusetts. In 1994, PFVAP conducted a pilot evaluation in two urban community health centers to determine whether HCPs trained to conduct IPV assessment would increase their screening rates of women at risk for IPV if an on-site referral service for victims was available. This report summarizes the results of the pilot project, which indicate that IPV screening rates did not increase after implementing on-site victim service. (+info)