Objective: To find out the effect of community mobilization and health education effort on health care seeking behavior of families with sick newborns, and to explore the rationale behind the changed health care seeking behaviors of mothers in a rural Indian community.
Methods: In the present community based participatory intervention, a triangulated research design of quantitative (survey) and qualitative (Focus group discussions, FGDs) method was undertaken for needs assessment in year 2004. In community mobilization, women's self help groups; Kishori Panchayat (KP, forum of adolescent girls), Kisan Vikas Manch (Farmers' club) and Village Coordination Committees (VCC) were formed in the study area. The trained social worker facilitated VCCs to develop village health plans to act upon their priority maternal and child health issues. The pregnant women and group members were given health education. The Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS) technique was used to monitor awareness regarding newborn danger signs among pregnant women. In year 2007, a triangulation of quantitative survey and a qualitative study (free list and pile sort exercise) was undertaken to find out changes in health care seeking behaviors of mothers.
Results: There was significant improvement in mothers' knowledge regarding newborn danger signs. About half of the mothers got information from CLICS doot (female community health worker). The monitoring over three years period showed encouraging trend in level of awareness among pregnant women. After three years, the proportion of mothers giving no treatment/home remedy for newborn danger signs declined significantly. However, there was significant improvement in mothers' health care seeking from private health care providers for sick newborns.
Conclusion: The present approach improved mothers' knowledge regarding newborn danger signs and improved their health care seeking behavior for newborn danger signs at community level. Due to lack of faith in government health services, women preferred to seek care from private providers.