Background A great burden of infant and under-five childhood mortality occurs during the neonatal period, usually within a few days of birth. Community based behavioural change communication (such as interpersonal, group and mass media channels, including participatory methods at community level) intervention trials have been shown to be effective in reducing this mortality. However, to guide policy makers and programme planners, there is a need to systematically appraise and synthesise this evidence.
Objective To systematically search, appraise and synthesise the best available evidence on the effect of community based behavioural change communication intervention to improve neonatal mortality in developing countries.
Inclusion Criteria This review considered randomised controlled community trials on the effectiveness of community based behavioural change communication interventions aimed at decreasing neonatal mortality that were conducted in developing countries.
Search Strategy This review considered English language articles on studies published between December, 2006 to January, 2011 and indexed in PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, Mednar, popline, Proquest, or Hinari.
Methodological quality Studies that met the inclusion criteria were assessed for methodological quality using the Joanna Briggs Institute Meta Analysis of Statistical Assessment and Review Instrument by two independent reviewers. Data were analysed using a fixed effects model with RevMan5 software.
Results: Community based behavioural change communication interventions were found to be associated with a significant reduction in neonatal mortality of 19% (average OR 0.81; 95%CI 0.75 to 0.88), early neonatal mortality by 20% (average 0.80; 95%CI 0.70 to 0.91), late neonatal mortality by 21% (average 0.79; 95%CI 0.63 to 0.99). In addition, the intervention also resulted in significant improvement of newborn care practice; breast feeding initiation, clean cord cutting and delay in bathing were improved by 185%, 110% and 196% respectively.
Conclusions Community-based behavioural change communication interventions such as health education, information education and communication, behavioural change communication, social mobilisation, community mobilisation, community conversation, and home based counselling were found to be associated with a significant reduction in neonatal mortality, early neonatal mortality and post neonatal mortality. The findings of this systematic review call for integration of such interventions into conventional strategies in developing countries.
Implications for practice This systematic review has shown that community based behavioural change communication interventions that are implemented through community health volunteers and other community based health workers, targeted at pregnant women and also involving influential people such as mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law and husbands/partners, consistently demonstrated that community based intervention packages significantly reduced early neonatal, late neonatal and neonatal mortality rates and also have a pivotal role in improving household newborn care practice. Thus, this review provides encouraging evidence of the value of integrating newborn care and neonatal mortality reduction strategies into community based approaches.
Implications for research The review findings were largely derived from a limited number of community trials from developing regions, particularly the African setting. Thus, there is a clear need for additional research on a larger scale and in more varied settings. There is also a need for more evidence based on higher quality research. The cost effectiveness of these community based interventions may impact on their adoption; however it was outside the scope of this review. Cost-effectiveness of these interventions should become a priority area for future research.
1. Lecturer, Dept. of Health Education and Behavioral Sciences Core Member of Ethiopia - Joanna Briggs Center for Evidence Synthesis Jimma University, P. O. Box - 378, private P. Box-1777, Jimma, Ethiopia
Corresponding Author:Mr. DejeneTilahun (BSc, MPH) Lecturer, Dept. of Health Education and Behavioral Sciences Core Member of Ethiopia - Joanna Briggs Center for Evidence Synthesis Jimma University, P. O. Box - 378, private P. Box-1777, Jimma, Ethiopia E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org