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1.  Transforming maternal and newborn health social norms and practices to increase utilization of health services in rural Bangladesh: a qualitative review 
Since 2008, Participatory Action for Rural Development Innovation (PARI) Development Trust, with the support of Enfants du Monde, has been implementing a maternal and newborn health (MNH) program based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) framework for Working with Individuals, Families and Communities (IFC) to improve MNH in Netrokona district, Bangladesh. This program aims to empower women and families and increase utilization of quality health services, thereby helping women realize their rights related to maternal health. Birth preparedness and complication readiness and working with traditional birth attendants (TBAs) to exercise a new role in MNH and have formed key interventions of this program. The purpose of this study was to explore how the program has contributed to changing social norms and practices surrounding MNH at midpoint.
This study relied primarily on qualitative data collection. Two focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with women who were pregnant or had recently given birth and one FGD with each of the following groups: husbands, family members, TBAs, and health workers. In-depth interviews were conducted with women who were pregnant or had recently given birth, family members of these women, health care providers, TBAs and community health workers in selected intervention areas.
Since implementation of interventions informants report an increase in planning for birth and complications and a shift in preference toward skilled care at birth. However, women still prefer to receive services at home. TBAs report encouraging women to access skilled care for both routine and emergency services. While community members’ understanding of rights related to maternal health remains limited, they report increased women’s participation in household decision- making processes, an important indicator of the realization of rights.
Results suggest that community-level interventions aiming to affect change in social norms and practices surrounding MNH can influence knowledge and practices even after a short period of time. Further evaluations will be required to quantify the degree to which these changes are having an impact on health services utilization.
PMCID: PMC4391089  PMID: 25886165
Maternal health; Newborn health; Birth preparation; Community based interventions; Traditional birth attendants; Bangladesh
2.  Husbands' involvement in delivery care utilization in rural Bangladesh: A qualitative study 
A primary cause of high maternal mortality in Bangladesh is lack of access to professional delivery care. Examining the role of the family, particularly the husband, during pregnancy and childbirth is important to understanding women's access to and utilization of professional maternal health services that can prevent maternal mortality. This qualitative study examines husbands' involvement during childbirth and professional delivery care utilization in a rural sub-district of Netrokona district, Bangladesh.
Using purposive sampling, ten households utilizing a skilled attendant during the birth of the youngest child were selected and matched with ten households utilizing an untrained traditional birth attendant, or dhatri. Households were selected based on a set of inclusion criteria, such as approximate household income, ethnicity, and distance to the nearest hospital. Twenty semi-structured interviews were conducted in Bangla with husbands in these households in June 2010. Interviews were transcribed, translated into English, and analyzed using NVivo 9.0.
By purposefully selecting households that differed on the type of provider utilized during delivery, common themes--high costs, poor transportation, and long distances to health facilities--were eliminated as sufficient barriers to the utilization of professional delivery care. Divergent themes, namely husbands' social support and perceived social norms, were identified as underlying factors associated with delivery care utilization. We found that husbands whose wives utilized professional delivery care provided emotional, instrumental and informational support to their wives during delivery and believed that medical intervention was necessary. By contrast, husbands whose wives utilized an untrained dhatri at home were uninvolved during delivery and believed childbirth should take place at home according to local traditions.
This study provides novel evidence about male involvement during childbirth in rural Bangladesh. These findings have important implications for program planners, who should pursue culturally sensitive ways to involve husbands in maternal health interventions and assess the effectiveness of education strategies targeted at husbands.
PMCID: PMC3364886  PMID: 22494576
3.  Newborn umbilical cord and skin care in Sylhet District, Bangladesh: Implications for promotion of umbilical cord cleansing with topical chlorhexidine 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2929163  PMID: 19057570
umbilical cord care; formative research; chlorhexidine; skin care; neonatal health; Bangladesh
4.  Factors affecting recruitment and retention of community health workers in a newborn care intervention in Bangladesh 
Well-trained and highly motivated community health workers (CHWs) are critical for delivery of many community-based newborn care interventions. High rates of CHW attrition undermine programme effectiveness and potential for implementation at scale. We investigated reasons for high rates of CHW attrition in Sylhet District in north-eastern Bangladesh.
Sixty-nine semi-structured questionnaires were administered to CHWs currently working with the project, as well as to those who had left. Process documentation was also carried out to identify project strengths and weaknesses, which included in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, review of project records (i.e. recruitment and resignation), and informal discussion with key project personnel.
Motivation for becoming a CHW appeared to stem primarily from the desire for self-development, to improve community health, and for utilization of free time. The most common factors cited for continuing as a CHW were financial incentive, feeling needed by the community, and the value of the CHW position in securing future career advancement. Factors contributing to attrition included heavy workload, night visits, working outside of one's home area, familial opposition and dissatisfaction with pay.
The framework presented illustrates the decision making process women go through when deciding to become, or continue as, a CHW. Factors such as job satisfaction, community valuation of CHW work, and fulfilment of pre-hire expectations all need to be addressed systematically by programs to reduce rates of CHW attrition.
PMCID: PMC2875202  PMID: 20438642

Results 1-4 (4)