Readiness to provide child health services in rural Uttar Pradesh, India: mapping, monitoring and ongoing supportive supervision
Mhadeshwar, Vishal B.
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Abstract Background In 2018, 875 000 under-five children died in India with children from poor families and rural communities disproportionately affected. Community health centres are positioned to improve access to quality child health services but capacity is often low and the systems for improvements are weak. Methods Secondary analysis of child health program data from the Uttar Pradesh Technical Support Unit was used to delineate how program activities were temporally related to public facility readiness to provide child health services including inpatient admissions. Fifteen community health centres were mapped regarding capacity to provide child health services in July 2015. Mapped domains included human resources and training, infrastructure, equipment, drugs/supplies and child health services. Results were disseminated to district health managers. Six months following dissemination, Clinical Support Officers began regular supportive supervision and gaps were discussed monthly with health managers. Senior pediatric residents mentored medical officers over a three-month period. Improvements were assessed using a composite score of facility readiness for child health services in July 2016. Usage of outpatient and inpatient services by under-five children was also assessed. Results The median essential composition score increased from 0.59 to 0.78 between July 2015 and July 2016 (maximum score of 1) and the median desirable composite increased from 0.44 to 0.58. The components contributing most to the change were equipment, drugs and supplies and service provision. Scores for trained human resources and infrastructure did not change between assessments. The number of facilities providing some admission services for sick children increased from 1 in July 2015 to 9 in October 2016. Conclusions Facility readiness for the provision of child health services in Uttar Pradesh was improved with relatively low inputs and targeted assessment. However, these improvements were only translated into admissions for sick children when clinical mentoring was included in the support provided to facilities.