WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
  • 2382
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page
Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Reader Login
Export selected to
Reference Manager
Medlars Format
RefWorks Format
BibTex Format
  Access statistics : Table of Contents
   2018| April  | Volume 7 | Issue 1  
    Online since March 27, 2018

  Archives   Previous Issue   Next Issue   Most popular articles   Most cited articles
Hide all abstracts  Show selected abstracts  Export selected to
  Viewed PDF Cited
The burden of iron-deficiency anaemia among women in India: how have iron and folic acid interventions fared?
Rajesh Kumar Rai, Wafaie W Fawzi, Anamitra Barik, Abhijit Chowdhury
April 2018, 7(1):18-23
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.228423  PMID:29582845
Iron-deficiency anaemia (IDA) among women in India is a problem of major public health significance. Using data from three waves of the National Family Health Survey, this article discusses the burden of and trend in IDA among women in India, and discusses the level of iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation and its potential role in reducing the burden of IDA. Between 2005–2006 and 2015–2016, IDA in India decreased by only 3.5 percentage points (from 56.5% in 2005–2006 to 53.0% in 2015–2016) for women aged 15–49 years. However, during the same period, of 27 states compared, IDA increased in eight: Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh; furthermore, some of these (e.g. Kerala) are states that rank among the highest on the state Human Development Index but had failed to contain the burden of IDA. Although there is a standard guideline for IFA supplementation in place, the IFA intervention appears to be ineffective in reducing the burden of IDA in India (nationally only 30.3 % of mothers consumed IFA for 100 days or more when they were pregnant), probably due to irregular consumption of IFA where the provision of screening under the National Iron+ Initiative scheme appears to be unsuccessful. To strengthen the IFA intervention and its uptake, a concerted effort of community-level health workers (accredited social health activists, auxiliary nurse midwives and anganwadi workers) is urgently needed. In addition, food-based strategies (dietary diversification and food fortification), food supplementation and improvement of health services are required to reduce the burden of anaemia among women in India.
  19,580 2,319 10
Current status of master of public health programmes in India: a scoping review
Ritika Tiwari, Himanshu Negandhi, Sanjay Zodpey
April 2018, 7(1):29-35
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.228425  PMID:29582847
There is a recognized need to improve training in public health in India. Currently, several Indian institutions and universities offer the Master of Public Health (MPH) programme. However, in the absence of any formal body or council for regulating public health education in the country, there is limited information available on these programmes. This scoping review was therefore undertaken to review the current status of MPH programmes in India. Information on MPH programmes was obtained using a two-step process. First, a list of all institutions offering MPH programmes in India was compiled by use of an internet and literature search. Second, detailed information on each programme was collected via an internet and literature search and through direct contact with the institutions and recognized experts in public health education. Between 1997 and 2016–2017, the number of institutions offering MPH programmes increased from 2 to 44. The eligibility criteria for the MPH programmes are variable. All programmes include some field experience. The ratio of faculty number to students enrolled ranged from 1:0.1 to 1:42. In the 2016–2017 academic year, 1190 places were being offered on MPH programmes but only 704 students were enrolled. MPH programmes being offered in India have witnessed a rapid expansion in the past two decades. This growth in supply of public health graduates is not yet matched by an increased demand. Despite the recognized need to strengthen the public health workforce in India, there is no clearly defined career pathway for MPH graduates in the national public health infrastructure. Institutions and public health bodies must collaborate to design and deliver MPH programmes to overcome the shortage of public health professionals, such that the development goals for India might be met.
  13,569 745 2
A framework for comparative analysis of health systems: experiences from the Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
Judith Mary Healy, Shenglan Tang, Walaiporn Patcharanarumol, Peter Leslie Annear
April 2018, 7(1):5-12
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.228421  PMID:29582843
Drawing on published work from the Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, this paper presents a framework for undertaking comparative studies on the health systems of countries. Organized under seven types of research approaches, such as national case-studies using a common format, this framework is illustrated using studies of low- and middle-income countries published by the Asia Pacific Observatory. Such studies are important contributions, since much of the health systems research literature comes from high-income countries. No one research approach, however, can adequately analyse a health system, let alone produce a nuanced comparison of different countries. Multiple comparative studies offer a better understanding, as a health system is a complex entity to describe and analyse. Appreciation of context and culture is crucial: what works in one country may not do so in another. Further, a single research method, such as performance indicators, or a study of a particular health system function or component, produces only a partial picture. Applying a comparative framework of several study approaches helps to inform and explain progress against health system targets, to identify differences among countries, and to assess policies and programmes. Multi-method comparative research produces policy-relevant learning that can assist countries to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3: ensure healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages by 2030.
  6,688 1,091 1
Social autopsy: a potential health-promotion tool for preventing maternal mortality in low-income countries
Preeti K Mahato, Elizabeth Waithaka, Edwin van Teijlingen, Puspa Raj Pant, Animesh Biswas
April 2018, 7(1):24-28
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.228424  PMID:29582846
Despite significant global improvements, maternal mortality in low-income countries remains unacceptably high. Increasing attention in recent years has focused on how social factors, such as family and peer influences, the community context, health services, legal and policy environments, and cultural and social values, can shape and influence maternal outcomes. Whereas verbal autopsy is used to attribute a clinical cause to a maternal death, the aim of social autopsy is to determine the non-clinical contributing factors. A social autopsy of a maternal death is a group interaction with the family of the deceased woman and her wider local community, where facilitators explore the social causes of the death and identify improvements needed. Although still relatively new, the process has proved useful to capture data for policy-makers on the social determinants of maternal deaths. This article highlights a second aspect of social autopsy – its potential role in health promotion. A social autopsy facilitates “community self-diagnosis” and identification of modifiable social and cultural factors that are attributable to the death. Social autopsy therefore has the potential not only for increasing awareness among community members, but also for promoting behavioural change at the individual and community level. There has been little formal assessment of social autopsy as a tool for health promotion. Rigorous research is now needed to assess the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of social autopsy as a preventive community-based intervention, especially with respect to effects on social determinants. There is also a need to document how communities can take ownership of such activities and achieve a sustainable impact on preventable maternal deaths.
  4,272 418 -
Factors associated with delivery at home in Bhutan: findings from the National Health Survey 2012
Mongal Singh Gurung, Dorji Pelzom, Sonam Wangdi, Tashi Tshomo, Pema Lethro, Tashi Dema
April 2018, 7(1):36-42
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.228426  PMID:29582848
Background Despite Bhutan's remarkable progress in the area of maternal and child health during the era of the Millennium Development Goals, a large proportion of pregnant women are still delivering at home with no skilled attendant. Limited empirical studies have been carried out to understand the factors associated with delivery at home in Bhutan. Methods This cross-sectional analytical study used secondary data collected in the nationally representative National Health Survey 2012. The survey included a total of 2213 women aged 15–49 years who had a live birth in the 2 years preceding the survey and were selected using multistage stratified cluster sampling. Weighted analysis was done to evaluate determinants for the place of delivery. Unadjusted and adjusted prevalence ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to assess the possible association of factors with home delivery. Results Out of 2213 women aged 15–49 years who had a live birth in the 2 years preceding the survey, 73.7% had an institutional delivery. Coverage of institutional delivery ranged from 49.4% in Zhemgang district to 96.1% in Paro district. Women in the poorest wealth quintile were 7.35 times more likely to have a birth at home compared to women in the richest quintile (adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR]: 7.35, 95% CI: 2.59–20.9). The older mothers aged 30–49 years were 0.79 times (aPR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.70–0.88) less likely to have a home delivery than mothers aged 15–19 years. Women who had fewer than four antenatal care visits were 1.50 times (aPR: 1.50, 95% CI: 1.35–1.66) more likely to give birth at home compared to those who had four or more visits. The mothers giving birth for a third or more time were 1.88 times (aPR: 1.88, 95% CI: 1.60–2.22) more likely to give birth at home compared to those giving birth for the first time. Women living in rural areas were 2.87 times (aPR: 2.87, 95% CI: 1.42–5.77) more likely to deliver at home compared to those living in urban areas and women living in the eastern region of the country were 1.35 times (aPR: 1.35, 95% CI: 1.17–1.55) more likely to have a home delivery compared to those living in the western region. Conclusion Lower socioeconomic status, rural location, eastern location, non- first birth, and having fewer than four antenatal visits were significant factors associated with home delivery. These findings should inform further research and policy to build on Bhutan's progress in promoting institutional delivery as the key strategy towards improving maternal and child health and achieving the relevant targets of Sustainable Development Goal 3.
  3,372 425 3
Changes in neonatal mortality and newborn health-care practices: descriptive data from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Surveys 2011 and 2014
Tasnima Akter, Angela Dawson, David Sibbritt
April 2018, 7(1):43-50
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.228427  PMID:29582849
Background Bangladesh has made major improvements in health outcomes over the past two decades, with falls in mortality rates in mothers and in infants and young children aged under 5 years. Despite these improvements, neonatal mortality rates (NMRs) are high in Bangladesh. This paper describes recent changes in NMRs and health-care practices, disaggregated by demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Methods Summary statistics from the reports of the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) were examined. The BDHS is a nationally representative cross-sectional survey and the two most recent rounds of surveys, 2007–2011 and 2010–2014, were included in the analysis. The variables considered in this study were neonatal deaths and related health-care practices, including antenatal care visits, facility-based delivery, assistance from a medically trained provider during delivery, postnatal care from a trained provider and essential newborn care. Results Between the two survey periods, NMRs increased in Chittagong (average increase 4.5% per year) and Khulna (8.3% per year), remained unchanged in Rangpur, and decreased in Barisal (average decrease 19.8% per year), Dhaka (12.2% per year), Rajshahi (7.7% per year) and Sylhet (4.8% per year). A larger average annual reduction in the NMR was observed in urban areas than in rural areas (14.0% versus 2.1%). There was also a large average annual reduction in NMR in the fourth and fifth richest quintiles for socioeconomic status (SES quintiles; 12.0% and 16.5% per year, respectively). Differences according to neonatal sex were also noted: the NMR for female neonates remained unchanged and that for male neonates reduced by an annual average of 7.7%. General improvements were observed in all health-care practices across all demographic and socioeconomic groups. However, the urban–rural gap in the uptake of antenatal care services, facility-based delivery, assistance from a medically trained provider during delivery, and postnatal care from a trained provider was roughly similar in both surveys. A similar unchanging gap was also seen between the poorest and richest SES quintiles. Conclusion The study analysis indicates that improvements in NMRs between the two survey periods are mixed. Further attention is required to improve the rate of reduction of neonatal mortality in some divisions in Bangladesh, and it may be useful to investigate whether the higher NMR in rural areas and for households with lower socioeconomic status can be reduced by strengthening the uptake of antenatal care services, facility-based delivery, assistance from a medically trained provider during delivery, and postnatal care from a trained provider. The static NMR for female neonates may encourage policy-makers to focus not only on ensuring standard essential newborn care practices for both sexes but also on ensuring adequate and appropriate care-seeking for illness in female neonates.
  2,606 324 1
Pushing the boundaries of research on human resources for health: fresh approaches to understanding health worker motivation
Aarushi Bhatnagar, Kerry Scott, Veloshnee Govender, Asha George
April 2018, 7(1):13-17
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.228422  PMID:29582844
A country's health workforce plays a vital role not only in serving the health needs of the population but also in supporting economic prosperity. Moreover, a well-funded and well-supported health workforce is vital to achieving universal health coverage and Sustainable Development Goal 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. This perspective article highlights the potential of underutilized health policy and systems research (HPSR) approaches for developing more effective human resources for health policy. The example of health worker motivation is used to showcase four types of HPSR (exploratory, influence, explanatory and emancipatory) that move beyond describing the extent of a problem. Most of the current literature aiming to understand determinants and dynamics of motivation is descriptive in nature. While this is an important basis for all research pursuits, it often gives little information about mechanisms to improve motivation and strategies for intervention. Motivation is an essential determinant of health worker performance, particularly for those working in difficult conditions, such as those facing many health workers in low- and middle-income countries. Motivation mediates health workforce performance in multiple ways: internally governing health worker behaviour; informing decisions on becoming a health worker; workplace location and ability to perform; and influencing willingness to engage politically. The four fresh research approaches described can help policy-makers better understand why health workers behave the way they do, how interventions can improve performance, the mechanisms that lead to change, and strategies for empowering health workers to be agents of change themselves.
  2,380 475 1
Universal health coverage in the World Health Organization South-East Asia Region: how can we make it “business unusual”?
Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Phyllida Travis
April 2018, 7(1):1-4
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.228420  PMID:29582842
  2,320 407 1
Large-scale mHealth professional support for health workers in rural Maharashtra, India
Shailendra Kumar B Hegde, Sriranga Prasad Saride, Sudha Kuruganty, Niraja Banker, Chetan Patil, Vishal Phanse
April 2018, 7(1):51-57
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.228428  PMID:29582850
Expanding mobile telephony in India has prompted interest in the potential of mobile-telephone health (mHealth) in linking health workers in rural areas with specialist medical advice and other professional services. In 2012, a toll-free helpline offering specialist medical advice to community-based health workers throughout Maharashtra was launched. Calls are handled via a 24 h centre in Pune, staffed by health advisory officers and medical specialists. Health advisory officers handle general queries, which include medical advice via validated algorithms; blood on-call services; grievance issues; and mental health support – the latter calls are transferred to a qualified counsellor. Calls requiring more specialist advice are transferred to the appropriate medical specialist. This paper describes the experience of the first 4 years of this helpline, in terms of the services used, callers, nature of calls, types of queries serviced and lessons learnt. In the first 4 years of the helpline, 669 265 calls were serviced. Of these calls, 453 373 (67.74%) needed medical advice and were handled by health advisory officers. Specialist services were required to address 199 226 (29.77%) calls. Blood-bank-related services accounted for 7919 (1.18%) calls, while 2462 (0.37%) were grievance calls. Counselling for mental health issues accounted for 6285 (0.94%) calls. The large-scale mHealth professional support provided by this helpline in Maharashtra has reached many health workers serving rural communities. Future work is required to explore ways to expand the reach of the helpline further and to measure its effectiveness in improving health outcomes.
  1,669 253 1