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1.  Prevalence and determinants of caesarean section in private and public health facilities in underserved South Asian communities: cross-sectional analysis of data from Bangladesh, India and Nepal 
BMJ Open  2014;4(12):e005982.
Objectives
To describe the prevalence and determinants of births by caesarean section in private and public health facilities in underserved communities in South Asia.
Design
Cross-sectional study.
Setting
81 community-based geographical clusters in four locations in Bangladesh, India and Nepal (three rural, one urban).
Participants
45 327 births occurring in the study areas between 2005 and 2012.
Outcome measures
Proportion of caesarean section deliveries by location and type of facility; determinants of caesarean section delivery by location.
Results
Institutional delivery rates varied widely between settings, from 21% in rural India to 90% in urban India. The proportion of private and charitable facility births delivered by caesarean section was 73% in Bangladesh, 30% in rural Nepal, 18% in urban India and 5% in rural India. The odds of caesarean section were greater in private and charitable health facilities than in public facilities in three of four study locations, even when adjusted for pregnancy and delivery characteristics, maternal characteristics and year of delivery (Bangladesh: adjusted OR (AOR) 5.91, 95% CI 5.15 to 6.78; Nepal: AOR 2.37, 95% CI 1.62 to 3.44; urban India: AOR 1.22, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.38). We found that highly educated women were particularly likely to deliver by caesarean in private facilities in urban India (AOR 2.10; 95% CI 1.61 to 2.75) and also in rural Bangladesh (AOR 11.09, 95% CI 6.28 to 19.57).
Conclusions
Our results lend support to the hypothesis that increased caesarean section rates in these South Asian countries may be driven in part by the private sector. They also suggest that preferences for caesarean delivery may be higher among highly educated women, and that individual-level and provider-level factors interact in driving caesarean rates higher. Rates of caesarean section in the private sector, and their maternal and neonatal health outcomes, require close monitoring.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005982
PMCID: PMC4283435  PMID: 25550293
OBSTETRICS; PUBLIC HEALTH
2.  Is essential newborn care provided by institutions and after home births? Analysis of prospective data from community trials in rural South Asia 
Background
Provision of essential newborn care (ENC) can save many newborn lives in poor resource settings but coverage is far from universal and varies by country and place of delivery. Understanding gaps in current coverage and where coverage is good, in different contexts and places of delivery, could make a valuable contribution to the future design of interventions to reduce neonatal mortality. We sought to describe the coverage of essential newborn care practices for births in institutions, at home with a skilled birth attendant, and at home without a skilled birth attendant (SBA) in rural areas of Bangladesh, Nepal, and India.
Methods
We used data from the control arms of four cluster randomised controlled trials in Bangladesh, Eastern India and from Makwanpur and Dhanusha districts in Nepal, covering periods from 2001 to 2011. We used these data to identify essential newborn care practices as defined by the World Health Organization. Each birth was allocated to one of three delivery types: home birth without an SBA, home birth with an SBA, or institutional delivery. For each study, we calculated the observed proportion of births that received each care practice by delivery type with 95% confidence intervals, adjusted for clustering and, where appropriate, stratification.
Results
After exclusions, we analysed data for 8939 births from Eastern India, 27 553 births from Bangladesh, 6765 births from Makwanpur and 15 344 births from Dhanusha. Across all study areas, coverage of essential newborn care practices was highest in institutional deliveries, and lowest in home non-SBA deliveries. However, institutional deliveries did not provide universal coverage of the recommended practices, with relatively low coverage (20%-70%) across all study areas for immediate breastfeeding and thermal care. Institutions in Bangladesh had the highest coverage for almost all care practices except thermal care. Across all areas, fewer than 20% of home non-SBA deliveries used a clean delivery kit, the use of plastic gloves was very low and coverage of recommended thermal care was relatively poor. There were large differences between study areas in handwashing, immediate breastfeeding and delayed bathing.
Conclusions
There remains substantial scope for health facilities to improve thermal care for the newborn and to encourage immediate and exclusive breastfeeding. For unattended home deliveries, increased handwashing, use of clean delivery kits and basic thermal care offer great scope for improvement.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-99
PMCID: PMC4016384  PMID: 24606612
3.  Community mobilisation and health management committee strengthening to increase birth attendance by trained health workers in rural Makwanpur, Nepal: study protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial 
Trials  2011;12:128.
Background
Birth attendance by trained health workers is low in rural Nepal. Local participation in improving health services and increased interaction between health systems and communities may stimulate demand for health services. Significant increases in birth attendance by trained health workers may be affected through community mobilisation by local women's groups and health management committee strengthening. We will test the effect of community mobilisation through women's groups, and health management committee strengthening, on institutional deliveries and home deliveries attended by trained health workers in Makwanpur District.
Design
Cluster randomised controlled trial involving 43 village development committee clusters. 21 clusters will receive the intervention and 22 clusters will serve as control areas. In intervention areas, Female Community Health Volunteers are supported in convening monthly women's groups. The groups work through an action research cycle in which they consider barriers to institutional delivery, plan and implement strategies to address these barriers with their communities, and evaluate their progress. Health management committees participate in three-day workshops that use appreciative inquiry methods to explore and plan ways to improve maternal and newborn health services. Follow-up meetings are conducted every three months to review progress. Primary outcomes are institutional deliveries and home deliveries conducted by trained health workers. Secondary outcome measures include uptake of antenatal and postnatal care, neonatal mortality and stillbirth rates, and maternal morbidity.
Trial registration number
ISRCTN99834806
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-12-128
PMCID: PMC3121607  PMID: 21595902
4.  Behaviour change in perinatal care practices among rural women exposed to a women's group intervention in Nepal [ISRCTN31137309] 
Background
A randomised controlled trial of participatory women's groups in rural Nepal previously showed reductions in maternal and newborn mortality. In addition to the outcome data we also collected previously unreported information from the subgroup of women who had been pregnant prior to study commencement and conceived during the trial period. To determine the mechanisms via which the intervention worked we here examine the changes in perinatal care of these women. In particular we use the information to study factors affecting positive behaviour change in pregnancy, childbirth and newborn care.
Methods
Women's groups focusing on perinatal care were introduced into 12 of 24 study clusters (average cluster population 7000). A total of 5400 women of reproductive age enrolled in the trial had previously been pregnant and conceived during the trial period.
For each of four outcomes (attendance at antenatal care; use of a boiled blade to cut the cord; appropriate dressing of the cord; not discarding colostrum) each of these women was classified as BETTER, GOOD, BAD or WORSE to describe whether and how she changed her pre-trial practice. Multilevel multinomial models were used to identify women most responsive to intervention.
Results
Among those not initially following good practice, women in intervention areas were significantly more likely to do so later for all four outcomes (OR 1.92 to 3.13). Within intervention clusters, women who attended groups were more likely to show a positive change than non-group members with regard to antenatal care utilisation and not discarding colostrum, but non-group members also benefited.
Conclusion
Women's groups promoted significant behaviour change for perinatal care amongst women not previously following good practice. Positive changes attributable to intervention were not restricted to specific demographic subgroups.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-6-20
PMCID: PMC1513253  PMID: 16776818

Results 1-4 (4)