Assessing the utilization of a child health monitoring tool

Blaauw, Renee ; Daniels, L. ; Du Plessis, L. M. ; Koen, N. ; Koornhof, H. E. ; Marais, M. L. ; Van Niekerk, E. ; Visser, J. (2017)

CITATION: Blaauw, R., et al. 2017. Assessing the utilization of a child health monitoring tool. South African Journal of Child Health, 11(4):174-179, doi:10.7196/SAJCH.2017.v11i4.1326.

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Objective: The study assessed the implementation of growth monitoring and promotion, immunisation, vitamin A supplementation, and deworming sections of the Road-to-Health Booklet. Caregivers and health care workers knowledge, attitudes and practices were investigated as well as health care workers perceptions of barriers undermining implementation. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted on a proportional sample of randomly selected Primary Health Care facilities across six health districts (35%; n=143) in the Western Cape Province. Health care workers involved in the implementation of the Road-to-Health Booklet, children (0-36 months) and CGs were included. Information was obtained through scrutiny of the Road-to-Health Booklet, observation of consultations and structured questionnaires. Results: A total of 2442 children, 2481 caregivers and 270 health care workers were recruited. Weight (94.7%) measurements were performed routinely. Less than half (40.2%) of caregivers reported that their child’s growth was explained. Sixty-eight percent of health care workers correctly identified criteria for underweight, whereas only 55% and 39% could do so for stunting and wasting respectively. Road-to-Health Booklet sections were completed adequately for immunization (89.3%), vitamin A supplementation (94.6%) but not for deworming (48.8%). Most health care workers (94%) knew the correct regimes for vitamin A supplementation and deworming, but few caregivers knew when treatment was due for vitamin A supplementation (16.4%) and deworming (26.2%). Potential barriers identified related to inadequate training, staff shortages and limited time. Conclusion: Focussed effort and resources should be channelled towards health care workers training and monitoring regarding growth monitoring and promotion to optimize utilization of the Road-to-Health Booklet. Mobilisation of community health workers is needed to strengthen community awareness of preventative health interventions.

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