The Hanover Park Mother-Infant Project: Methodological challenges and compromises in a South African context

Tomlinson M. ; Swartz L. ; Landman M. (2003)


A series of randomised trials conducted in the USA examined the impact of intervention programmes for mothers and their infants. As a result, a number of guidelines were identified for implementing methodologically sound and efficacious interventions. While these guidelines are scientifically sound, they are difficult to implement in third-world contexts like South Africa where funding and professional resources are scarce. The project examined in this article is an example of a programme that falls short of these stringent guidelines and yet still has value in a context such as South Africa. While the project's design had limitations, it nevertheless raised social awareness about the target issue, so bringing it to the attention of policy makers and funding agencies. This enabled the establishment of a better-funded project that incorporated more methodologically sound design features.

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