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The effects of an area-based intervention on the uptake of maternal and child health assessments in Australia: A community trial

Kelaher, Margaret and Dunt, David and Feldman, Peter and Nolan, Andrea and Raban, Bridie (2009) The effects of an area-based intervention on the uptake of maternal and child health assessments in Australia: A community trial. BMC Health Services Research, 9 (1). pp. 1-7. ISSN 1472-6963

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Abstract

Background Recognition of the importance of the early years in determining health and educational attainment and promotion of the World Health Organization Health for All (HFA) principles has led to an international trend towards community-based initiatives to improve developmental outcomes among socio-economically disadvantaged children. In this study we examine whether, Best Start, an Australian area-based initiative to improve child health was effective in improving access to Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services. Methods The study compares access to information, parental confidence and annual 3.5 year Ages and Stages visiting rates before (2001/02) and after (2004/05) the introduction of Best Start. Access to information and parental confidence were measured in surveys of parents with 3 year old children. There were 1666 surveys in the first wave and 1838 surveys in the second wave. The analysis of visiting rates for the 3.5 year Ages and Stages visit included all eligible Victorian children. Best Start sites included 1,739 eligible children in 2001/02 and 1437 eligible children in 2004/05. The comparable figures in the rest of the state were and 45, 497 and 45, 953 respectively. Results There was a significant increase in attendance at the 3.5 year Ages and Stages visit in 2004/05 compared to 2001/02 in all areas. However the increase in attendance was significantly greater at Best Start sites than the rest of the state. Access to information and parental confidence improved over the course of the intervention in Best Start sites with MCH projects compared to other Best Start sites. Conclusion These results suggest that community-based initiatives in disadvantaged areas may improve parents' access to child health information, improve their confidence and increase MCH service use. These outcomes suggest such programmes could potentially contribute to strategies to reduce child health inequalities.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ResPubID16902, intervention, maternal & child health assessments
Subjects: Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Education
FOR Classification > 1117 Public Health and Health Services
SEO Classification > 9202 Health and Support Services
Depositing User: VUIR
Date Deposited: 07 May 2012 23:23
Last Modified: 07 May 2012 23:23
URI: http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/4372
DOI: 10.1186/1472-6963-9-53
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Citations in Scopus: 1 - View on Scopus

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