Community Participation Key to Maternal and Child Health

September 12, 2008

Community participation is vital for the successful delivery of maternal, newborn and child health, according to three articles published in the Sept. 13 issue of The Lancet, which has a special focus on the legacy of the 1978 International Conference on Primary Health Care in Alma-Ata.

FRIDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Community participation is vital for the successful delivery of maternal, newborn and child health, according to three articles published in the Sept. 13 issue of The Lancet, which has a special focus on the legacy of the 1978 International Conference on Primary Health Care in Alma-Ata.

Mikey Rosato, of University College London in the U.K., and colleagues write that community mobilization can improve the health of newborn infants and reduce mortality rates, but is fraught with controversy and absent in many large-scale primary health care programs. This may be because it is no longer relevant once health care systems are established. The authors write that the lack of community participation could explain the failure to achieve Millennium Development Goals for maternal and child mortality.

Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, M.D., of The Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, and colleagues identify 37 key promotional, preventive and treatment interventions for maternal, newborn and child health in primary health care, some of which are particularly well-suited to community-based delivery strategies. Examples include enhanced packages for antenatal care in mothers and community-based care and management of newborns. In another study, Bjorn Ekman, Ph.D., of Lund University in Lund, Sweden, and colleagues look at the experiences of several Asian and African countries in implementing integrated packages of maternal, newborn and child health care.

"If packages for maternal, newborn and child health care can be integrated within a gradually strengthened primary health care system, continuity of care will be improved, including access to basic referral care before and during pregnancy, birth, the postpartum period and throughout childhood," Ekman and colleagues write.

Abstract - Rosato Full Text (subscription or payment may be required) Abstract - Bhutta Full Text (subscription or payment may be required) Abstract - EkmanFull Text (subscription or payment may be required)

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