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1.  Vitamin D Status of Infants in Northeastern Rural Bangladesh: Preliminary Observations and a Review of Potential Determinants 
Vitamin D deficiency is a global public-health concern, even in tropical regions where the risk of deficiency was previously assumed to be low due to cutaneous vitamin D synthesis stimulated by exposure to sun. Poor vitamin D status, indicated by low serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], has been observed in South Asian populations. However, limited information is available on the vitamin D status of young infants in this region. Therefore, to gain preliminary insights into the vitamin D status of infants in rural Bangladesh, 25(OH)D was assessed in a group of community-sampled control participants in a pneumonia case-control study in rural Sylhet, Bangladesh (25°N) during the winter dry season (January-February). Among 29 infants aged 1-6 months, the mean 25(OH)D was 36.7 nmol/L [95% confidence interval (CI) 30.2-43.2]. The proportion of infants with vitamin D deficiency defined by 25(OH)D <25 nmol/L was 28% (95% CI 10-45), 59% (95% CI 40-78) had 25(OH)D<40 nmol/L, and all were below 80 nmol/L. From one to six months, there was a positive correlation between age and 25(OH)D (Spearman=0.65; p=0.0001). Within a larger group of 74 infants and toddlers aged 1-17 months (cases and controls recruited for the pneumonia study), young age was the only significant risk factor for vitamin D deficiency [25(OH)D <25 nmol/L]. Since conservative maternal clothing practices (i.e. veiling) and low frequency of intake of foods from animal source (other than fish) were common among the mothers of the participants, determinants of low maternal-infant 25(OH)D in Bangladesh deserve more detailed consideration in future studies. In conclusion, the vitamin D status in young infants in rural Sylhet, Bangladesh, was poorer than might be expected based on geographic considerations. The causes and consequences of low 25(OH)D in infancy and early childhood in this setting remain to be established.
PMCID: PMC2963768  PMID: 20941897
Risk factors; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; Vitamin D; Vitamin D deficiency; Bangladesh
2.  The effect of umbilical cord cleansing with chlorhexidine on omphalitis and neonatal mortality in community settings in developing countries: a meta-analysis 
BMC Public Health  2013;13(Suppl 3):S15.
Background
There is an increased risk of serious neonatal infection arising through exposure of the umbilical cord to invasive pathogen in home and facility births where hygienic practices are difficult to achieve. The World Health Organization currently recommends ‘dry cord care’ because of insufficient data in favor of or against topical application of an antiseptic. The primary objective of this meta-analysis is to evaluate the effects of application of chlorhexidine (CHX) to the umbilical cord to children born in low income countries on cord infection (omphalitis) and neonatal mortality. Standardized guidelines of Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG) were followed to generate estimates of effectiveness of topical chlorhexidine application to umbilical cord for prevention of sepsis specific mortality, for inclusion in the Lives Saved Tool (LiST).
Methods
Systematic review and meta-analysis. Data sources included Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in the Cochrane Library, PubMed, CINHAL and WHO international clinical trials registry. Only randomized trials were included. Studies of children in hospital settings were excluded. The comparison group received no application to the umbilical cord (dry cord care), no intervention, or a non-CHX intervention. Primary outcomes were omphalitis and all-cause neonatal mortality.
Results
There were three cluster-randomised community trials (total participants 54,624) conducted in Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan that assessed impact of CHX application to the newborn umbilical cord for prevention of cord infection and mortality. Application of any CHX to the umbilical cord of the newborn led to a 23% reduction in all-cause neonatal mortality in the intervention group compared to control [RR 0.77, 95 % CI 0.63, 0.94; random effects model, I2=50 %]. The reduction in omphalitis ranged from 27 % to 56 % compared to control group depending on severity of infection. Based on CHERG rules, effect size for all-cause mortality was used for inclusion to LiST model as a proxy for sepsis specific mortality.
Conclusions
Application of CHX to newborn umbilical cord can significantly reduce incidence of umbilical cord infection and all-cause mortality among home births in community settings. This inexpensive and simple intervention can save a significant number of newborn lives in developing countries.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-S3-S15
PMCID: PMC3847355  PMID: 24564621
3.  Risk of Early-Onset Neonatal Infection with Maternal Infection or Colonization: A Global Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(8):e1001502.
Grace Chan and coauthors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies evaluating the risk of neonatal infection or colonization during the first seven days of life among newborns of mothers with bacterial infection or colonization during the intrapartum period.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Neonatal infections cause a significant proportion of deaths in the first week of life, yet little is known about risk factors and pathways of transmission for early-onset neonatal sepsis globally. We aimed to estimate the risk of neonatal infection (excluding sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] or congenital infections) in the first seven days of life among newborns of mothers with bacterial infection or colonization during the intrapartum period.
Methods and Findings
We searched PubMed, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and the World Health Organization Regional Databases for studies of maternal infection, vertical transmission, and neonatal infection published from January 1, 1960 to March 30, 2013. Studies were included that reported effect measures on the risk of neonatal infection among newborns exposed to maternal infection. Random effects meta-analyses were used to pool data and calculate the odds ratio estimates of risk of infection. Eighty-three studies met the inclusion criteria. Seven studies (8.4%) were from high neonatal mortality settings. Considerable heterogeneity existed between studies given the various definitions of laboratory-confirmed and clinical signs of infection, as well as for colonization and risk factors. The odds ratio for neonatal lab-confirmed infection among newborns of mothers with lab-confirmed infection was 6.6 (95% CI 3.9–11.2). Newborns of mothers with colonization had a 9.4 (95% CI 3.1–28.5) times higher odds of lab-confirmed infection than newborns of non-colonized mothers. Newborns of mothers with risk factors for infection (defined as prelabour rupture of membranes [PROM], preterm <37 weeks PROM, and prolonged ROM) had a 2.3 (95% CI 1.0–5.4) times higher odds of infection than newborns of mothers without risk factors.
Conclusions
Neonatal infection in the first week of life is associated with maternal infection and colonization. High-quality studies, particularly from settings with high neonatal mortality, are needed to determine whether targeting treatment of maternal infections or colonization, and/or prophylactic antibiotic treatment of newborns of high risk mothers, may prevent a significant proportion of early-onset neonatal sepsis.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4)—one of eight goals agreed by world leaders in 2000 to eradicate extreme poverty globally—aims to reduce under-five mortality (deaths) to one-third of its 1990 level (12 million deaths). Progress towards reducing child mortality has accelerated recently, but MDG4 is unlikely to be met, partly because of slow progress towards reducing neonatal mortality—deaths during the first 28 days of life. Neonatal deaths now account for a greater proportion of global child deaths than in 1990. Nearly half of the children who die before their fifth birthday die during the neonatal period, with babies born in low-middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia being at the highest risk of neonatal death. Bacterial infections such as infections of the bloodstream (bacteremia/sepsis), lungs (pneumonia), and the brain's protective covering (meningitis) are responsible for a quarter of neonatal deaths. Newborns can acquire infections during birth by picking up bacteria (in particular Group B streptococcus or GBS) that are present in their mother's reproductive tract and that may or may not cause disease in the mother. Bacteria colonizing the maternal perineum (the area between the anus and the vagina) can move up the vaginal canal into the amniotic sac (the fluid-filled bag in which the baby develops). Maternal bacteremia is another source of bacterial transmission from mother to fetus. Other risk factors for neonatal infection include pre-labor rupture of the membranes (PROM) of the amniotic sac, preterm PROM, and prolonged rupture of membranes.
Why Was This Study Done?
In high-income settings, prophylactic (preventative) antibiotic treatment during labor (based on microbiological screening or risk factors such as PROM) and early diagnosis and treatment of sepsis in newborn babies has greatly reduced deaths from early-onset neonatal bacterial infection. Yet, relatively little is known about the risk factors and transmission pathways for this condition globally. In this global systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers estimate the risk of neonatal bacterial infections (excluding sexually transmitted diseases) among newborns of mothers with bacterial infection or colonization around the time of birth. A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic; meta-analysis is a statistical method for combining the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 83 studies (only seven of which were undertaken in settings with high neonatal mortality) that included data on laboratory-confirmed maternal infection, maternal infection indicated by clinical signs and symptoms, maternal colonization (positive bacterial cultures from the reproductive tract without any signs or symptoms of infection), or risk factors for infection such as PROM and data on neonatal infection (laboratory-confirmed or clinically indicated) or colonization. Because different studies used different definitions for infection and colonization, the researchers pooled the data from subsets of the studies using random effects meta-analysis, which allows for heterogeneity (inconsistencies) between studies. Newborns of mothers with laboratory-confirmed infection had a 6.6-fold higher risk of laboratory-confirmed infection than newborns born to mothers without laboratory-confirmed infection. Newborns of mothers with bacterial colonization had a 9.4-fold higher risk of laboratory-confirmed infection than newborns of non-colonized mothers. Finally, compared to newborns of mothers without risk factors for infection, newborns of mothers with PROM or other risk factors had a 2.3-fold higher risk of infection.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that an increased risk of early-onset neonatal infection is associated with maternal infection and maternal colonization and provide some quantification of the excess risk. Because all the studies were facility-based and mostly from urban settings in high-income countries, these findings provide no information about the risk of neonatal infection among home births, rural births or births at community facilities in low-income countries, which limits their generalizability. Other aspects of the studies included in this systematic review and meta-analysis are also likely to limit the accuracy of the findings. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that better diagnosis and treatment of maternal infections and colonization in low- to middle-income countries where neonatal mortality is high might substantially reduce the incidence of neonatal infections and that the development of a simple algorithm that combines clinical signs and risk factors to diagnose maternal infections might be useful in regions where laboratory facilities are unavailable. Moreover, they highlight the need for more studies of maternal and neonatal infection and colonization in resource-poor settings with high neonatal mortality.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001502.
The United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) works for children's rights, survival, development, and protection around the world; it provides information on Millennium Development Goal 4 and its Childinfo website provides detailed statistics about neonatal survival and health; its Committing to Child Survival: a Promise Renewed webpage includes links to its 2012 progress report and to a video about how new health centers are helping India battle high neonatal death rates
The World Health Organization has information about Millennium Development Goal 4 and about newborn health (some information in several languages)
Countdown to 2015 provides additional information on maternal, newborn, and child survival, including its 2012 report Building a Future for Women and Children
Kidshealth, a resource provided by the not-for-profit Nemours Foundation, has information on neonatal infections for parents (in English and Spanish)
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on neonatal sepsis (in English and Spanish)
A personal story about fatal neonatal bacterial meningitis is available on the website of Meningitis UK, a not-for profit organization; the site also includes a survivor story
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001502
PMCID: PMC3747995  PMID: 23976885
4.  Effect of knowledge of community health workers on essential newborn health care: a study from rural India 
Health Policy and Planning  2011;27(2):115-126.
Background This study explored the relationship between the knowledge of community health workers (CHWs)—anganwadi workers (AWWs) and auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs)—and their antenatal home visit coverage and effectiveness of the visits, in terms of essential newborn health care practices at the household level in rural India.
Methods We used data from 302 AWWs and 86 ANMs and data from recently delivered women (RDW) (n = 13 023) who were residents of the CHW catchment areas and gave birth to a singleton live baby during 2004–05. Using principal component analysis, knowledge scores for preventive care and danger signs were computed separately for AWWs and ANMs and merged with RDW data. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to estimate the adjusted effect of knowledge level. A generalized estimating equation (GEE) was used to account for clustering.
Results Coverage of antenatal home visits and newborn care practices were positively correlated with the knowledge level of AWWs and ANMs. Initiation of breastfeeding in the first hour of life (odds ratio 1.97; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.55–2.49 for AWW, and odds ratio 1.62; 95% CI: 1.25–2.09 for ANM), clean cord care (odds ratio 2.03; 95% CI: 1.64–2.52 for AWW, and odds ratio 1.43; 95% CI: 1.17–1.75 for ANM) and thermal care (odds ratio 2.16; 95% CI: 1.64–2.85 for AWW and odds ratio 1.88; 95% CI: 1.43–2.48 for ANM) were significantly higher among women visited by AWWs or ANMs who had better knowledge compared with those with poor knowledge.
Conclusion CHWs’ knowledge is one of the crucial aspects of health systems to improve the coverage of community-based newborn health care programmes as well as adherence to essential newborn care practices at the household level.
doi:10.1093/heapol/czr018
PMCID: PMC3606030  PMID: 21385799
Knowledge level; community health workers; essential newborn health care practices; principal component analysis; logistic regression; generalized estimating equation
5.  Pharmacokinetics of High-Dose Weekly Oral Vitamin D3 Supplementation during the Third Trimester of Pregnancy in Dhaka, Bangladesh 
Nutrients  2013;5(3):788-810.
A pharmacokinetic study was conducted to assess the biochemical dose-response and tolerability of high-dose prenatal vitamin D3 supplementation in Dhaka, Bangladesh (23°N). Pregnant women at 27–30 weeks gestation (n = 28) were randomized to 70,000 IU once + 35,000 IU/week vitamin D3 (group PH: pregnant, higher dose) or 14,000 IU/week vitamin D3 (PL: pregnant, lower dose) until delivery. A group of non-pregnant women (n = 16) was similarly administered 70,000 IU once + 35,000 IU/week for 10 weeks (NH: non-pregnant, higher-dose). Rise (∆) in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration ([25(OH)D]) above baseline was the primary pharmacokinetic outcome. Baseline mean [25(OH)D] were similar in PH and PL (35 nmol/L vs. 31 nmol/L, p = 0.34). A dose-response effect was observed: ∆[25(OH)D] at modeled steady-state was 19 nmol/L (95% CI, 1 to 37) higher in PH vs. PL (p = 0.044). ∆[25(OH)D] at modeled steady-state was lower in PH versus NH but the difference was not significant (−15 nmol/L, 95% CI −34 to 5; p = 0.13). In PH, 100% attained [25(OH)D] ≥ 50 nmol/L and 90% attained [25(OH)D] ≥ 80 nmol/L; in PL, 89% attained [25(OH)D] ≥ 50 nmol/L but 56% attained [25(OH)D] ≥ 80 nmol/L. Cord [25(OH)D] (n = 23) was slightly higher in PH versus PL (117 nmol/L vs. 98 nmol/L; p = 0.07). Vitamin D3 was well tolerated; there were no supplement-related serious adverse clinical events or hypercalcemia. In summary, a regimen of an initial dose of 70,000 IU and 35,000 IU/week vitamin D3 in the third trimester of pregnancy was non-hypercalcemic and attained [25(OH)D] ≥ 80 nmol/L in virtually all mothers and newborns. Further research is required to establish the safety of high-dose vitamin D3 in pregnancy and to determine if supplement-induced [25(OH)D] elevations lead to maternal-infant health benefits.
doi:10.3390/nu5030788
PMCID: PMC3705320  PMID: 23482056
vitamin D; Bangladesh; pregnancy; pharmacokinetics; hypercalcemia
6.  Pharmacokinetics of a single oral dose of vitamin D3 (70,000 IU) in pregnant and non-pregnant women 
Nutrition Journal  2012;11:114.
Background
Improvements in antenatal vitamin D status may have maternal-infant health benefits. To inform the design of prenatal vitamin D3 trials, we conducted a pharmacokinetic study of single-dose vitamin D3 supplementation in women of reproductive age.
Methods
A single oral vitamin D3 dose (70,000 IU) was administered to 34 non-pregnant and 27 pregnant women (27 to 30 weeks gestation) enrolled in Dhaka, Bangladesh (23°N). The primary pharmacokinetic outcome measure was the change in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration over time, estimated using model-independent pharmacokinetic parameters.
Results
Baseline mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration was 54 nmol/L (95% CI 47, 62) in non-pregnant participants and 39 nmol/L (95% CI 34, 45) in pregnant women. Mean peak rise in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration above baseline was similar in non-pregnant and pregnant women (28 nmol/L and 32 nmol/L, respectively). However, the rate of rise was slightly slower in pregnant women (i.e., lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D on day 2 and higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D on day 21 versus non-pregnant participants). Overall, average 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration was 19 nmol/L above baseline during the first month. Supplementation did not induce hypercalcemia, and there were no supplement-related adverse events.
Conclusions
The response to a single 70,000 IU dose of vitamin D3 was similar in pregnant and non-pregnant women in Dhaka and consistent with previous studies in non-pregnant adults. These preliminary data support the further investigation of antenatal vitamin D3 regimens involving doses of ≤70,000 IU in regions where maternal-infant vitamin D deficiency is common.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT00938600)
doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-114
PMCID: PMC3552819  PMID: 23268736
Vitamin D; Bangladesh; Pregnancy; Pharmacokinetics
7.  Care Seeking for Neonatal Illness in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(3):e1001183.
Hadley Herbert and colleagues systematically review newborn care-seeking behaviors by caregivers in low- and middle-income countries.
Background
Despite recent achievements to reduce child mortality, neonatal deaths continue to remain high, accounting for 41% of all deaths in children under five years of age worldwide, of which over 90% occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Infections are a leading cause of death and limitations in care seeking for ill neonates contribute to high mortality rates. As estimates for care-seeking behaviors in LMICs have not been studied, this review describes care seeking for neonatal illnesses in LMICs, with particular attention to type of care sought.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic literature review of studies that reported the proportion of caregivers that sought care for ill or suspected ill neonates in LMICs. The initial search yielded 784 studies, of which 22 studies described relevant data from community household surveys, facility-based surveys, and intervention trials. The majority of studies were from South Asia (n = 17/22), set in rural areas (n = 17/22), and published within the last 4 years (n = 18/22). Of the 9,098 neonates who were ill or suspected to be ill, 4,320 caregivers sought some type of care, including care from a health facility (n = 370) or provider (n = 1,813). Care seeking ranged between 10% and 100% among caregivers with a median of 59%. Care seeking from a health care provider yielded a similar range and median, while care seeking at a health care facility ranged between 1% and 100%, with a median of 20%. Care-seeking estimates were limited by the few studies conducted in urban settings and regions other than South Asia. There was a lack of consistency regarding illness, care-seeking, and care provider definitions.
Conclusions
There is a paucity of data regarding newborn care-seeking behaviors; in South Asia, care seeking is low for newborn illness, especially in terms of care sought from health care facilities and medically trained providers. There is a need for representative data to describe care-seeking patterns in different geographic regions and better understand mechanisms to enhance care seeking during this vulnerable time period.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Worldwide around 3.3 million babies die within their first month of life every year. While the global neonatal mortality rate has declined by 28% between 1990 and 2009 (from 33.2 deaths per 1,000 livebirths to 23.9), the proportion of under-five child deaths that are now in the neonatal period has increased in all regions of the world and currently stands at 41%. Of these deaths, over 90% occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), making the risk of death in the neonatal period in LMICs more than six times higher than in high-income countries. In LMIC settings most babies are born at home so inappropriate and delayed care seeking can contribute substantially to neonatal mortality. Infection causes over a quarter of all deaths in neonates, but in LMICs diagnosis is often based on nonspecific clinical signs, which may delay the provision of care.
Why Was This Study Done?
In order to improve neonatal survival in LMICs, health care facilities and providers must not only be available and accessible but a baby's caregiver, often a parent or other family member, must also recognize that the baby is ill and seek help. To address this problem with effective strategies, an understanding is needed of the patterns of care-seeking behavior by babies' caregivers in seeking help from health-care facilities or providers. In this study, the researchers explored the extent and nature of care-seeking behaviors by the caregivers of ill babies in LMIC settings.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Using multiple databases, the researchers conducted a comprehensive review up until October 2011 of all relevant studies including those that had not been formally published. Using specific criteria, the researchers then identified 22 appropriate studies (out of a possible 784) and recorded the same information from each study, including the number of neonates with illness or suspected illness, the number of care providers who sought care, and where care was sought. They also assessed the quality of each included study (the majority of which were from rural areas in South Asia) on the basis of a validated method for reviewing intervention effectiveness. The researchers found that the definitions of neonatal illness and care-seeking behavior varied considerably between studies or were not defined at all. Because of these inherent study differences it was not possible to statistically combine the results from the identified studies using a technique called meta-analysis, instead the researchers reported literature estimates and described their findings narratively.
The researchers' analysis included 9,098 neonates who were identified in community-based studies as being ill or suspected of being ill and a total of 4,320 related care-seeking events: care seeking ranged between 10% and 100% among caregivers including seeking care from a health facility (370) or from a health provider (1,813). Furthermore, between 4% to 100% of caregivers sought care from a trained medical provider and 4% to 48% specified receiving care at a health care facility: caregivers typically sought help from primary health care, secondary health care, and pharmacies and some from an unqualified health provider. The researchers also identified seven community-based intervention studies that included interventions such as essential newborn care, birth preparedness, and illness recognition, where all showed an increase in care seeking following the intervention.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings highlight the lack of a standardized and consistent approach to neonate care-seeking behaviors described in the literature. However, despite the large variations of results, care seeking for newborn illnesses in LMICs appears to be low in general and remains a key challenge to improving neonatal mortality. Global research efforts to define, understand, and address care seeking, may help to reduce the global burden of neonatal mortality. However, to achieve sustainable improvements in neonatal survival, changes are needed to both increase the demand for newborn care and strengthen health care systems to improve access to, and quality of, care. This review also shows that there is a role for interventions within the community to encourage appropriate and timely care seeking. Finally, by addressing the inconsistencies and establishing standardized terms to identify barriers to care, future studies may be able to better generalize the factors and delays that influence neonatal care seeking.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001183.
A recent PLoS Medicine study has the latest figures on neonatal mortality worldwide
UNICEF provides information about progress toward United Nations Millennium Development Goal 4
UNICEF also has information about neonatal mortality
The United Nations Population Fund has information on home births
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001183
PMCID: PMC3295826  PMID: 22412355
8.  Assessment of the proportion of neonates and children in low and middle income countries with access to a healthcare facility: A systematic review 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:536.
Background
Comprehensive antenatal, perinatal and early postnatal care has the potential to significantly reduce the 3.58 million neonatal deaths that occur annually worldwide. This paper systematically reviews data on the proportion of neonates and children < 5 years of age that have access to health facilities in low and middle income countries. Gaps in available data by WHO region are identified, and an agenda for future research and advocacy is proposed.
Methods
For this paper, "utilization" was used as a proxy for "access" to a healthcare facility, and the term "facility" was used for any clinic or hospital outside of a person's home staffed by a "medical professional". A systematic literature search was conducted for published studies of children up to 5 years of age that included the neonatal age group with an illness or illness symptoms in which health facility utilization was quantified. In addition, information from available Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) was extracted.
Results
The initial broad search yielded 2,239 articles, of which 14 presented relevant data. From the community-based neonatal studies conducted in the Southeast Asia region with the goal of enhancing care-seeking for neonates with sepsis, the 10-48% of sick neonates in the studies' control arms utilized a healthcare facility. Data from cross-sectional surveys involving young children indicate that 12 to 86% utilizing healthcare facilities when sick. From the DHS surveys, a global median of 58.1% of infants < 6 months were taken to a facility for symptoms of ARI.
Conclusions
There is a scarcity of data regarding the access to facility-based care for sick neonates/young children in many areas of the world; it was not possible to generalize an overall number of neonates or young children that utilize a healthcare facility when showing signs and symptoms of illness. The estimate ranges were broad, and there was a paucity of data from some regions. It is imperative that researchers, advocates, and policy makers join together to better understand the factors affecting health care utilization/access for newborns in different settings and what the barriers are that prevent children from being taken to a facility in a timely manner.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-536
PMCID: PMC3253732  PMID: 22166258
9.  Vulnerability of Newborns to Environmental Factors: Findings from Community Based Surveillance Data in Bangladesh 
Infection is the major cause of neonatal deaths. Home born newborns in rural Bangladeshi communities are exposed to environmental factors increasing their vulnerability to a number of disease agents that may compromise their health. The current analysis was conducted to assess the association of very severe disease (VSD) in newborns in rural communities with temperature, rainfall, and humidity. A total of 12,836 newborns from rural Sylhet and Mirzapur communities were assessed by trained community health workers using a sign based algorithm. Records of temperature, humidity, and rainfall were collected from the nearest meteorological stations. Associations between VSD and environmental factors were estimated. Incidence of VSD was found to be associated with higher temperatures (odds ratios: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.08 to 1.21 in Sylhet and 1.06, 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.07 in Mirzapur) and heat humidity index (odds ratios: 1.06, 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.08 in Sylhet and, 1.03, 95% CI: 1.01 to 1.04 in Mirzapur). Four months (June–September) in Sylhet, and six months in Mirzapur (April–September) had higher odds ratios of incidence of VSD as compared to the remainder of the year (odds ratios: 1.72, 95% CI: 1.32 to 2.23 in Sylhet and, 1.62, 95% CI: 1.33 to 1.96 in Mirzapur). Prevention of VSD in neonates can be enhanced if these interactions are considered in health intervention strategies.
doi:10.3390/ijerph8083437
PMCID: PMC3166752  PMID: 21909316
neonatal; infection; sepsis; community health workers; environment; heat humidity index; Bangladesh
10.  The case for launch of an international DNA-based birth cohort study 
Journal of Global Health  2011;1(1):39-45.
The global health agenda beyond 2015 will inevitably need to broaden its focus from mortality reduction to the social determinants of deaths, growing inequities among children and mothers, and ensuring the sustainability of the progress made against the infectious diseases. New research tools, including technologies that enable high-throughput genetic and ‘-omics’ research, could be deployed for better understanding of the aetiology of maternal and child health problems. The research needed to address those challenges will require conceptually different studies than those used in the past. It should be guided by stringent ethical frameworks related to the emerging collections of biological specimens and other health related information. We will aim to establish an international birth cohort which should assist low- and middle-income countries to use emerging genomic research technologies to address the main problems in maternal and child health, which are still major contributors to the burden of disease globally.
PMCID: PMC3484746  PMID: 23198101
11.  Levels, timing, and etiology of stillbirths in Sylhet district of Bangladesh 
Background
Lack of data is a critical barrier to addressing the problem of stillbirth in countries with the highest stillbirth burden. Our study objective was to estimate the levels, types, and causes of stillbirth in rural Sylhet district of Bangladesh.
Methods
A complete pregnancy history was taken from all women (n = 39 998) who had pregnancy outcomes during 2003-2005 in the study area. Verbal autopsy data were obtained for all identified stillbirths during the period. We used pre-defined case definitions and computer programs to assign causes of stillbirth for selected causes containing specific signs and symptoms. Both non-hierarchical and hierarchical approaches were used to assign causes of stillbirths.
Results
A total of 1748 stillbirths were recorded during 2003-2005 from 48,192 births (stillbirth rate: 36.3 per 1000 total births). About 60% and 40% of stillbirths were categorized as antepartum and intrapartum, respectively. Maternal conditions, including infections, hypertensive disorders, and anemia, contributed to about 29% of total antepartum stillbirths. About 50% of intrapartum stillbirths were attributed to obstetric complications. Maternal infections and hypertensive disorders contributed to another 11% of stillbirths. A cause could not be assigned in nearly half (49%) of stillbirths.
Conclusion
The stillbirth rate is high in rural Bangladesh. Based on algorithmic approaches using verbal autopsy data, a substantial portion of stillbirths is attributable to maternal conditions and obstetric complications. Programs need to deliver community-level interventions to prevent and manage maternal complications, and to develop strategies to improve access to emergency obstetric care. Improvements in care to avert stillbirth can be accomplished in the context of existing maternal and child health programs. Methodological improvements in the measurement of stillbirths, especially causes of stillbirths, are also needed to better define the burden of stillbirths in low-resource settings.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-25
PMCID: PMC3088895  PMID: 21453544
12.  Household surveillance of severe neonatal illness by community health workers in Mirzapur, Bangladesh: coverage and compliance with referral 
Health Policy and Planning  2009;25(2):112-124.
Background Effective and scalable community-based strategies are needed for identification and management of serious neonatal illness.
Methods As part of a community-based, cluster-randomized controlled trial of the impact of a package of maternal-neonatal health care, community health workers (CHWs) were trained to conduct household surveillance and to identify and refer sick newborns according to a clinical algorithm. Assessments of newborns by CHWs at home were linked to hospital-based assessments by physicians, and factors impacting referral, referral compliance and outcome were evaluated.
Results Seventy-three per cent (7310/10 006) of live-born neonates enrolled in the study were assessed by CHWs at least once; 54% were assessed within 2 days of birth, but only 15% were attended at delivery. Among assessments for which referral was recommended, compliance was verified in 54% (495/919). Referrals recommended to young neonates 0–6 days old were 30% less likely to be complied with compared to older neonates. Compliance was positively associated with having very severe disease and selected clinical signs, including respiratory rate ≥70/minute; weak, abnormal or absent cry; lethargic or less than normal movement; and feeding problem. Among 239 neonates who died, only 38% were assessed by a CHW before death.
Conclusions Despite rigorous programmatic effort, reaching neonates within the first 2 days after birth remained a challenge, and parental compliance with referral recommendation was limited, particularly among young neonates. To optimize potential impact, community postnatal surveillance must be coupled with skilled attendance at delivery, and/or a worker skilled in recognition of neonatal illness must be placed in close proximity to the community to allow for rapid case management to avert early deaths.
doi:10.1093/heapol/czp048
PMCID: PMC2912547  PMID: 19917652
Community health worker; neonatal illness; referral; surveillance; care seeking
13.  Community-based Validation of Assessment of Newborn Illnesses by trained Community Health Workers in Sylhet district of Bangladesh 
Objectives
To validate trained community health workers' (CHWs') recognition of signs and symptoms of newborn illnesses and classification of illnesses using a clinical algorithm during routine home visits in rural Bangladesh.
Methods
Between August 2005 and May 2006, 288 newborns were assessed independently by a CHW and a study physician. Based on a 20-sign algorithm, sick neonates were classified as having very severe disease (VSD), possible very severe disease (PVSD) or no disease. Physician's assessment was considered as the gold standard.
Results
CHWs correctly classified VSD in newborns with a sensitivity of 91%, specificity of 95%, and kappa value of 0.85 (p<0.001) indicating almost perfect agreement with physicians' classification of VSD. CHWs' recognition showed a sensitivity of more than 60% and a specificity of 97–100% for almost all signs and symptoms.
Conclusion
CHWs with minimal training can use a diagnostic algorithm to identify severely ill newborns with high validity.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02397.x
PMCID: PMC2929169  PMID: 19807901
newborn health; newborn illness; Community Health Workers; validation; Bangladesh; newborn assessment
14.  Community-based Health Workers Achieve High Coverage in Neonatal Intervention Trials: A Case Study from Sylhet, Bangladesh 
A large proportion of four million neonatal deaths occur each year during the first 24 hours of life. Research is particularly needed to determine the efficacy of interventions during the first 24 hours. Large cadres of community-based workers are required in newborn-care research both to deliver these interventions in a standardized manner in the home and to measure the outcomes of the study. In a large-scale community-based efficacy trial of chlorhexidine for cleansing the cord in north-eastern rural Bangladesh, a two-tiered system of community-based workers was established to deliver a package of essential maternal and newborn-care interventions and one of three umbilical cord-care regimens. At any given time, the trial employed approximately 133 community health workers—each responsible for 4–5 village health workers and a population of approximately 4,000. Over the entire trial period, 29,760 neonates were enrolled, and 87% of them received the intervention (their assigned cord-care regimen) within 24 hours of birth. Approaches to recruitment, training, and supervision in the study are described. Key lessons included the importance of supportive processes for community-based workers, including a strong training and field supervisory system, community acceptance of the study, consideration of the setting, study objectives, and human resources available.
PMCID: PMC2995030  PMID: 21261207
Chlorhexidine; Cluster-randomized trial; Community-based studies; Community health workers; Interventions; Neonatal health; Umbilical cord cleansing; Bangladesh
15.  Newborn umbilical cord and skin care in Sylhet District, Bangladesh: Implications for promotion of umbilical cord cleansing with topical chlorhexidine 
Background
Newborn cord care practices may directly contribute to infections, which account for a large proportion of the 4 million annual global neonatal deaths. This formative research study assessed current umbilical and skin care knowledge and practices for neonates in Sylhet, Bangladesh in preparation for a cluster-randomised trial of the impact of topical chlorhexidine cord cleansing on neonatal mortality and omphalitis.
Methodology
Unstructured interviews (n=60), structured observations (n=20), rating and ranking exercises (n=40), and household surveys (n=400) were conducted to elicit specific behaviours regarding newborn cord and skin care practices. These included hand-washing, skin and cord care at the time of birth, persons engaged in cord care, cord cutting practices, topical applications to the cord at the time of birth, wrapping/dressing of the cord stump, and use of skin-to-skin care.
Results
Ninety percent of deliveries occurred at home. The umbilical cord was almost always (98%) cut after delivery of the placenta, and cut by mothers in more than half the cases (57%). Substances were commonly (52%) applied to the stump after cord cutting; turmeric was the most common application (83%). Umbilical stump care revolved around bathing, skin massage with mustard oil, and heat massage on the umbilical stump. Forty-two percent of newborns were bathed on the day of birth. Mothers were the principal provider for skin and cord care during the neonatal period and 9% reported umbilical infections in their infants.
Discussion
Unhygienic cord care practices are prevalent in the study area. Efforts to promote hand washing, cord cutting with clean instruments, and avoiding unclean home applications to the cord may reduce exposure and improve neonatal outcomes. Such efforts should broadly target a range of caregivers, including mothers and other female household members.
doi:10.1038/jp.2008.164
PMCID: PMC2929163  PMID: 19057570
umbilical cord care; formative research; chlorhexidine; skin care; neonatal health; Bangladesh
16.  Effectiveness of Home-based Management of Newborn Infections by Community Health Workers in Rural Bangladesh 
Background
Infections account for about half of neonatal deaths in low-resource settings. Limited evidence supports home-based treatment of newborn infections by community health workers (CHW).
Methods
In one study arm of a cluster randomized controlled trial, CHWs assessed neonates at home using a 20-sign clinical algorithm and classified sick neonates as having very severe disease or possible very severe disease. Over a two-year period, 10 585 live births were recorded in the study area. CHWs assessed 8474 (80%) of the neonates within the first week of life and referred neonates with signs of severe disease. If referral failed but parents consented to home treatment, CHWs treated neonates with very severe disease or possible very severe disease with multiple signs, using injectable antibiotics.
Results
For very severe disease, referral compliance was 34% (162/478 cases), and home treatment acceptance was 43% (204/478 cases). The case fatality rate was 4.4% (9/204) for CHW treatment, 14.2% (23/162) for treatment by qualified medical providers, and 28.5% (32/112) for those who received no treatment or who were treated by other unqualified providers. After controlling for differences in background characteristics and illness signs among treatment groups, newborns treated by CHWs had a hazard ratio of 0.22 (95% confidence interval 0.07–0.71) for death during the neonatal period and those treated by qualified providers had a hazard ratio of 0.61 (95% confidence interval of 0.37–0.99), compared with newborns who received no treatment or were treated by untrained providers. Significantly increased hazards ratios of death were observed for neonates with convulsions (HR 6.54; 95% CI 3.98–10.76), chest in-drawing (HR 2.38, 95% CI 1.29–4.39), temperature < 35.3°C (HR 3.47, 95% CI 1.30–9.24), unconsciousness (HR 7.92, 95% CI 3.13–20.04).
Conclusions
Home treatment of very severe disease in neonates by CHWs was effective and acceptable in a low-resource setting in Bangladesh.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e31819069e8
PMCID: PMC2929171  PMID: 19289979
neonatal; infection; sepsis; community health workers; Bangladesh
17.  Birth Preparedness and Complication Readiness among Slum Women in Indore City, India 
Three hundred twelve mothers of infants aged 2-4 months in 11 slums of Indore, India, were interviewed to assess birth preparedness and complication readiness (BPACR) among them. The mothers were asked whether they followed the desired four steps while pregnant: identified a trained birth attendant, identified a health facility, arranged for transport, and saved money for emergency. Taking at least three steps was considered being well-prepared. Taking two or less steps was considered being less-prepared. One hundred forty-nine mothers (47.8%) were well-prepared. Factors associated with well-preparedness were assessed using adjusted multivariate models. Factors associated with well-preparedness were maternal literacy [odds ratio (OR)=1.9, (95%) confidence interval (CI) 1.1-3.4] and availing of antenatal services (OR=1.7, CI 1.05-2.8). Deliveries in the slum-home were high (56.4%). Among these, skilled attendance was low (7.4%); 77.3% of them were assisted by traditional birth attendants. Skilled attendance during delivery was three times higher in well-prepared mothers compared to less-prepared mothers (OR: 3.0, CI 1.6-5.4) Antenatal outreach sessions can be used for promoting BPACR. It will be important to increase the competency of slum-based traditional birth attendants, along with promoting institutional deliveries.
PMCID: PMC2965330  PMID: 20824982
Birth preparedness; Complication readiness; Cross-sectional studies; Deliveries; Slums; Urban poor; India
18.  Process evaluation of a community-based intervention promoting multiple maternal and neonatal care practices in rural Nepal 
Background
The challenge of delivering multiple, complex messages to promote maternal and newborn health in the terai region of Nepal was addressed through training Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) to counsel pregnant women and their families using a flipchart and a pictorial booklet that was distributed to clients. The booklet consists of illustrated messages presented on postcard-sized laminated cards that are joined by a ring. Pregnant women were encouraged to discuss booklet content with their families.
Methods
We examined use of the booklet and factors affecting adoption of practices through semi-structured interviews with district and community-level government health personnel, staff from the Nepal Family Health Program, FCHVs, recently delivered women and their husbands and mothers-in-law.
Results
The booklet is shared among household members, promotes discussion, and is referred to when questions arise or during emergencies. Booklet cards on danger signs and nutritious foods are particularly well-received. Cards on family planning and certain aspects of birth preparedness generate less interest. Husbands and mothers-in-law control decision-making for maternal and newborn care-seeking and related household-level behaviors.
Conclusions
Interpersonal peer communication through trusted community-level volunteers is an acceptable primary strategy in Nepal for promotion of household-level behaviors. The content and number of messages should be simplified or streamlined before being scaled-up to minimize intervention complexity and redundant communication.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-31
PMCID: PMC2898677  PMID: 20529251
19.  How well does LiST capture mortality by wealth quintile? A comparison of measured versus modelled mortality rates among children under-five in Bangladesh 
International Journal of Epidemiology  2010;39(Suppl 1):i186-i192.
Background In the absence of planned efforts to target the poor, child survival programs often favour the rich. Further evidence is needed urgently about which interventions and programme approaches are most effective in addressing inequities. The Lives Saved Tool (LiST) is available and can be used to model mortality levels across economic groups based on coverage levels for child survival interventions.
Methods We used LiST to model neonatal and under-5 mortality levels among the highest and the lowest wealth quintiles in Bangladesh based on national and wealth-quintile-specific coverage of child survival interventions. The cause-of-death structure among children under-5 was also modelled using the coverage levels. Modelled rates were compared to the rates measured directly from the 2004 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey and associated verbal autopsies.
Results Modelled estimates of mortality within wealth quintiles fell within the 95% confidence intervals of measured mortality for both neonatal and post-neonatal mortality. LiST also performed well in predicting the cause-of-death structure for these two age groups for the poorest quintile of the population, but less well for the richest quintile.
Conclusions LiST holds promise as a useful tool for assessing socio-economic inequities in child survival in low-income countries.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyq034
PMCID: PMC2845873  PMID: 20348120
Child survival; Neonatal mortality; Under-five mortality; Modelling; Causes of death; Wealth quintiles; LiST
20.  Comparing modelled predictions of neonatal mortality impacts using LiST with observed results of community-based intervention trials in South Asia 
International Journal of Epidemiology  2010;39(Suppl 1):i11-i20.
Background There is an increasing body of evidence from trials suggesting that major reductions in neonatal mortality are possible through community-based interventions. Since these trials involve packages of varying content, determining how much of the observed mortality reduction is due to specific interventions is problematic. The Lives Saved Tool (LiST) is designed to facilitate programmatic prioritization by modelling mortality reductions related to increasing coverage of specific interventions which may be combined into packages.
Methods To assess the validity of LiST outputs, we compared predictions generated by LiST with observed neonatal mortality reductions in trials of packages which met inclusion criteria but were not used as evidence inputs for LiST.
Results Four trials, all from South Asia, met the inclusion criteria. The neonatal mortality rate (NMR) predicted by LiST matched the observed rate very closely in two effectiveness-type trials. LiST predicted NMR reduction was close (absolute difference <5/1000 live births) in a third study. The NMR at the end of the fourth study (Shivgarh, India) was overestimated by 39% or 16/1000 live births.
Conclusions These results suggest that LiST is a reasonably reliable tool for use by policymakers to prioritize interventions to reduce neonatal deaths, at least in South Asia and where empirical data are unavailable. Reasons for the underestimated reduction in one trial likely include the inability of LiST to model all effective interventions.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyq017
PMCID: PMC2845856  PMID: 20348113
child survival; neonatal mortality; modelling; Lives Saved Tool; Bangladesh; India; Pakistan
21.  Effect of timing of first postnatal care home visit on neonatal mortality in Bangladesh: a observational cohort study 
Objective To assess the effect of the timing of first postnatal home visit by community health workers on neonatal mortality.
Design Analysis of prospectively collected data using time varying discrete hazard models to estimate hazard ratios for neonatal mortality according to day of first postnatal home visit.
Data source Data from a community based trial of neonatal care interventions conducted in Bangladesh during 2004-5.
Main outcome measure Neonatal mortality.
Results 9211 live births were included. Among infants who survived the first day of life, neonatal mortality was 67% lower in those who received a visit on day one than in those who received no visit (adjusted hazard ratio 0.33, 95% confidence interval 0.23 to 0.46; P<0.001). For those infants who survived the first two days of life, receiving the first visit on the second day was associated with a 64% lower neonatal mortality than in those who did not receive a visit (adjusted hazard ratio 0.36, 0.23 to 0.55; P<0.001). First visits on any day after the second day of life were not associated with reduced mortality.
Conclusions In developing countries, especially where home delivery with unskilled attendants is common, postnatal home visits within the first two days of life by trained community health workers can significantly reduce neonatal mortality.
doi:10.1136/bmj.b2826
PMCID: PMC2727579  PMID: 19684100
22.  Gender Differences in Perception and Care-seeking for Illness of Newborns in Rural Uttar Pradesh, India 
Although gender-based health disparities are prevalent in India, very little data are available on care-seeking patterns for newborns. In total, 255 mothers were prospectively interviewed about their perceptions and action surrounding the health of their newborns in rural Uttar Pradesh, India. Perception of illness was significantly lower in incidence (adjusted odds ratio=0.56, 95% confidence interval 0.33-0.94) among households with female versus male newborns. While the overall use of healthcare providers was similar across gender, the average expenditure for healthcare during the neonatal period was nearly four-fold higher in households with males (Rs 243.3±537.2) compared to females (Rs 65.7±100.7) (p=0.07). Households with female newborns used cheaper public care providers whereas those with males preferred to use private unqualified providers perceived to deliver more satisfactory care. These results suggest that, during the neonatal period, care-seeking for girls is neglected compared to boys, laying a foundation for programmes and further research to address gender differences in neonatal health in India.
PMCID: PMC2761808  PMID: 19248649
Healthcare-seeking behaviour; Equity; Gender; Health expenditure; Healthcare-use; Neonatal health; Perceptions; Rural health; India
23.  Identification of Serotype in Culture Negative Pneumococcal Meningitis Using Sequential Multiplex PCR: Implication for Surveillance and Vaccine Design 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(10):e3576.
Background
PCR-based serotyping of Streptococcus pneumoniae has been proposed as a simpler approach than conventional methods, but has not been applied to strains in Asia where serotypes are diverse and different from other part of the world. Furthermore, PCR has not been used to determine serotype distribution in culture-negative meningitis cases.
Methodology
Thirty six serotype-specific primers, 7 newly designed and 29 previously published, were arranged in 7 multiplex PCR sets, each in new hierarchies designed for overall serotype distribution in Bangladesh, and specifically for meningitis and non-meningitis isolates. Culture-negative CSF specimens were then tested directly for serotype-specific sequences using the meningitis-specific set of primers. PCR-based serotyping of 367 strains of 56 known serotypes showed 100% concordance with quellung reaction test. The first 7 multiplex reactions revealed the serotype of 40% of all, and 31% and 48% non-meningitis and meningitis isolates, respectively. By redesigning the multiplex scheme specifically for non-meningitis or meningitis, the quellung reaction of 43% and 48% of respective isolates could be identified. Direct examination of 127 culture-negative CSF specimens, using the meningitis-specific set of primers, yielded serotype for 51 additional cases.
Conclusions
This PCR approach, could improve ascertainment of pneumococcal serotype distributions, especially for meningitis in settings with high prior use of antibiotics.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003576
PMCID: PMC2571985  PMID: 18974887
24.  Early-life Determinants of Stunted Adolescent Girls and Boys in Matlab, Bangladesh 
This paper presents the results of a longitudinal study, conducted in Matlab, Bangladesh, that examined to what extent the level of stunting in adolescence can be predicted by nutritional status in early childhood and maternal height. A linked set of data collected from the same individuals at two moments in time, i.e. early childhood (1988–1989) and adolescence (2001), was analyzed. The study found that the odds of being stunted in adolescence could be explained by the combined effect of being stunted in childhood and having a mother whose height was less than 145 cm. Also, girls were more likely than boys to be stunted in childhood, whereas boys were more likely than girls to be stunted in adolescence. The latter is probably attributable to differences in the pace of maturation. In terms of policy and (reproductive health) programmes, it is important to recall that adolescent girls whose height and weight were subnormal (weight <45 kg and height <145 cm) might run an obstetric risk. Following these cut-off points, 83% and 23% of 16-year-old girls in this study would face obstetric risk, respectively, for weight and height if they marry and become pregnant soon.
PMCID: PMC2740662  PMID: 18686552
Adolescence; Anthropometry; Infant growth; Longitudinal studies; Maternal height; Nutritional status; Stunting; Bangladesh
25.  Sex and Socioeconomic Differentials in Child Health in Rural Bangladesh: Findings from a Baseline Survey for Evaluating Integrated Management of Childhood Illness 
This paper reports on a population-based sample survey of 2,289 children aged less than five years (under-five children) conducted in 2000 as a baseline for the Bangladesh component of the Multi-country Evaluation (MCE) of the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness strategy. Of interest were rates and differentials by sex and socioeconomic status for three aspects of child health in rural Bangladesh: morbidity and hospitalizations, including severity of illness; care-seeking for childhood illness; and home-care for illness. The survey was carried out among a population of about 380,000 in Matlab upazila (subdistrict). Generic MCE Household Survey tools were adapted, translated, and pretested. Trained interviewers conducted the survey in the study areas. In total, 2,289 under-five children were included in the survey. Results showed a very high prevalence of illness among Bangladeshi children, with over two-thirds reported to have had at least one illness during the two weeks preceding the survey. Most sick children in this population had multiple symptoms, suggesting that the use of the IMCI clinical guidelines will lead to improved quality of care. Contrary to expectations, there were no significant differences in the prevalence of illness either by sex or by socioeconomic status. About one-third of the children with a reported illness did not receive any care outside the home. Of those for whom outside care was sought, 42% were taken to a village doctor. Only 8% were taken to an appropriate provider, i.e. a health facility, a hospital, a doctor, a paramedic, or a community-based health worker. Poorer children than less-poor children were less likely to be taken to an appropriate healthcare provider. The findings indicated that children with severe illness in the least poor households were three times more likely to seek care from a trained provider than children in the poorest households. Any evidence of gender inequities in child healthcare, either in terms of prevalence of illness or care-seeking patterns, was not found. Care-seeking patterns were associated with the perceived severity of illness, the presence of danger signs, and the duration and number of symptoms. The results highlight the challenges that will need to be addressed as IMCI is implemented in health facilities and extended to address key family and community practices, including extremely low rates of use of the formal health sector for the management of sick children. Child health planners and researchers must find ways to address the apparent population preference for untrained and traditional providers which is determined by various factors, including the actual and perceived quality of care, and the differentials in care-seeking practices that discriminate against the poorest households.
PMCID: PMC2740675  PMID: 18637525
Child care; Child health; Hospitalizations; Integrated Management of Childhood Illness; Morbidity; Socioeconomic status; Bangladesh

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