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Open Access Improving the quality of care of children in community clinics: an intervention and evaluation in Bangladesh

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Setting: Community health care providers (CHCPs) in 40 rural community clinics of Comilla district, Bangladesh, were trained using a newly developed case-management job aid based on the World Health Organization Integrated Management of Childhood Illness and a communication guide.

Objectives: To assess 1) the change in knowledge of the CHCPs after training; 2) the absolute quality of care provided by the CHCPs (determined as the proportion of children aged <5 years [under-fives] correctly diagnosed, treated and referred); and 3) the consultation behaviour of the CHCPs.

Design: Change in knowledge was assessed by tests pre-and post-training. The quality of care was determined by reassessments at the clinic exit by a medical officer, without a baseline comparison. Consultation behaviour was assessed through direct observation. The study was performed during 2014–2015.

Results: The mean standard knowledge score of the CH-CPs increased from 19 to 25 (P < 0.001). Of 1490 under-fives examined, 91% were correctly diagnosed, 86% were correctly treated and 99.5% received a correct referral decision. The CHCPs performed well on most of the measures of good communication, although one third did not explain the diagnosis and treatment to patients.

Conclusion: The training was effective in changing knowledge. The CHCPs applied the knowledge gained and provided good quality care. Following these results, the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has scaled up the training nationwide. The lessons learnt should be useful for other countries.
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Keywords: antibiotic reduction; childhood pneumonia; primary care

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: ARK Foundation, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Department of Economics, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh 2: ARK Foundation, Dhaka, Bangladesh 3: Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK 4: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease South-East Asia Office, New Delhi, India

Publication date: 21 June 2016

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  • Public Health Action (PHA), The Union's quarterly open access on-line journal, provides a platform for its mission 'Health solutions for the poor'. PHA addresses the need for show-casing operational research that addresses issues in health systems and services. It publishes high-quality scientific research that provides new knowledge to improve access, equity, quality and efficiency of health systems and services.

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