Increasing knowledge of home based maternal and newborn care using self-help groups: Evidence from rural Uttar Pradesh, India

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: In India, pregnant women and recently delivered mothers of marginalized communities in Uttar Pradesh (UP) remain un-reached by frontline-health-workers. In these communities, self-help groups (SHGs) have the potential to reach these women with knowledge of home-based maternal and newborn care (HBMNC). Objective: The study examines the feasibility of SHGs to improve knowledge of HBMNC. The study identifies the facilitating factors and barriers to knowledge change. Methods: A panel study with a quasi-experimental design was conducted in Jhansi, UP. Peer educators, called Swasthya Sakhi, of the SHGs of the experimental area were trained on how to conduct discussions on HBMNC topics. Both at baseline and endline 233 women from the experimental area and 237 women from the comparison area were interviewed to measure their knowledge change in HBMNC topics. The net-effect of the intervention was examined using difference-in-difference (DID) analysis with propensity-score-matching (PSM) controlling for the effect of background characteristics of the participants from two study areas. Generalized-estimating-equation (GEE) was used to identify the facilitating factors and barriers to the knowledge change. Results: The findings show significant net-increases in women’s knowledge for most of the HBMNC topics including danger signs for a pregnant mother and a newborn child, even after controlling for the background characteristics of the participants. The most significant determinant of the increase of knowledge was the women's education. Conclusion: Findings from the study showed SHGs can increase HBMNC knowledge among women. However, studies with longer duration are required to examine the scalability and sustainability of the intervention.






Evaluating the Integration of Health and Nutrition Messages Into Self-Help Groups in India