Can a community health worker administered postnatal checklist increase health-seeking behaviors and knowledge?


Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Jacaranda Health published a study evaluating the effects of low-cost postnatal care delivered by community health workers. This randomized trial evaluates a pilot program in which community health workers (CHWs) visit or call new mothers three days after delivery in peri-urban Kiambu County, Kenya.

Since the 2009 WHO and UNICEF recommendation that women receive home-based postnatal care within the first three days after birth, a growing number of low-income countries have explored integrating postnatal home visit interventions into their maternal and newborn health strategies.

We found that the home visit administration of the checklist increased the likelihood that women recognized postnatal problems for themselves and their babies and increased the likelihood that they sought care to address those problems identified for the child. In both the home visit and mobile phone implementation of the checklist, postnatal care seeking happened earlier, particularly for infants.

Our results suggest that CHWs can affordably deliver many of the benefits of postnatal checklists. Click here to view the full study and learn more about our findings.

This product is made possible through the generous support of the Saving Lives at Birth partners: the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). It was prepared by Jacaranda Health and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Saving Lives at Birth partners.