American Public Health Association
137th Annual Meeting & Exposition
7–11 November 2009
In Bangladesh, although maternal health care is provided to rural women free of cost through public health facilities, the services of these facilities remain grossly underutilized, resulting in very high maternal mortality and morbidity. The Population Council conducted an operations research (OR) study to test a service-delivery model to increase the use of maternal health care by poor women. One of the innovative interventions implemented in this OR study was involving community people in the process of implementing the reproductive health program though community support groups (CSGs). For approximately 3,000 population, one CSG consisted of 10–15 local stakeholders representing all strata of the community, including the very poor and disadvantaged, to raise the awareness of the community regarding reproductive health (RH) needs and services and to improve the quality and utilization of services. Preliminary results suggest that community participation through CSGs significantly increased community awareness of needs and utilization of RH services, and improved the quality and utilization of services. The monthly meetings of the CSGs provided good forums for interaction among service providers and community people, and thereby helped solve RH service-related problems locally. The members of the CSGs were found to be crucial in the selection process of poor pregnant women who were eligible for financial incentives for maternal health care. They also played important roles in strengthening health care facilities and organizing satellite clinics in the locality.
Describe the mechanism of community participation in reproductive health programs through community support groups (CSGs). Assess effects of community participation on implementation of reproductive health programs and the feasibility of replication in the national program.
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