Increasing access to care for sick newborns: evidence from the Ghana Newhints cluster-randomised controlled trial.


Manu, A; Hill, Z; Ten Asbroek, AH; Soremekun, S; Weobong, B; Gyan, T; Tawiah-Agyemang, C; Danso, S; Amenga-Etego, S; Owusu-Agyei, S; Kirkwood, BR; (2016) Increasing access to care for sick newborns: evidence from the Ghana Newhints cluster-randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 6 (6). e008107. ISSN 2044-6055 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008107

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Abstract

To evaluate the impact of Newhints community-based surveillance volunteer (CBSV) assessments and referrals on access to care for sick newborns and on existing inequities in access. We evaluated a prospective cohort nested within the Newhints cluster-randomised controlled trial. Community-based intervention involving more than 750 000, predominantly rural, population in seven contiguous districts in the Brong-Ahafo Region, Ghana. Participants were recently delivered women (from more than 120 000 women under surveillance) and their 16 168 liveborn babies. Qualitative in-depth interviews with referral narratives (IDIs) were conducted with 92 mothers, CBSVs and health facility front-desk and maternity/paediatrics ward staff. Newhints trained and effectively supervised 475 CBSVs (existing within the Ghana Health Service) in 49 of 98 supervisory zones (clusters) to assess and refer newborns with any of the 10-key-danger signs to health facilities within the first week after birth; promote independent care seeking for sick newborns and problem-solve around barriers between November 2008 and December 2009. The main evaluation outcomes were rates of compliance with referrals and independent care seeking for newborn illnesses. Of 4006 sampled, 2795 (69.8%) recently delivered women received CBSV assessment visits and 279 (10.0%) newborns were referred with danger signs. Compliance with referrals was unprecedentedly high (86.0%) with women in the poorest quintile (Q1) complying better than the least poor (Q5):87.5%(Q1) vs 69.7%(Q5); p=0.038. Three-quarters went to hospitals; 18% were admitted and 58% received outpatient treatment. Some (24%) mothers were turned away at facilities and follow-on IDIs showed that some of these untreated babies subsequently died. Independent care seeking for severe newborn illness increased from 55.4% in control to 77.3% in Newhints zones, especially among Q1 where care seeking almost doubled (95.0% vs 48.6%; RR=1.94 (1.32, 2.84); p=0.001). Rates were the highest among rural residents but urban residents complied quicker. Home visits are feasible and a potentially pro-poor approach to link sick newborns to facilities. Its effectiveness in improving survival hinges on matched improvement in facility quality of care. NCT00623337.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Nutrition and Public Health Interventions Research (2003-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
Research Centre: Maternal and Child Health Intervention Research Group
PubMed ID: 27297006
Web of Science ID: 380237100002
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2551402

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