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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 64  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 66-71

Home-based newborn care voucher initiative in Assam: An evaluation


1 Chief, UNICEF, Guwahati, Assam, India
2 Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Tezpur Medical College, Tezpur, Assam, India
3 Health Officer, UNICEF, Guwahati, Assam, India
4 Statistician, MCH Cell, AMC, Dibrugarh, Assam, India
5 Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh, Assam, India

Correspondence Address:
Tulika Goswami Mahanta
Satsang Vihar Road, Jyotinagar, Dibrugarh - 786 001, Assam, India
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijph.IJPH_188_19

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Background: An innovative home-based newborn care (HBNC) voucher system has been introduced in Assam to improve home visits of accredited social health activists (ASHAs), make them more accountable, and empower the community. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of HBNC voucher initiative in Assam. Methods: A mixed methodology study was conducted in 2018 including 4 districts of Assam. A quantitative study was done among a sample of 836 lactating mothers by interviewing them through house-to-house visits. A qualitative study was done by in-depth interview of various health-care service providers. Results: Of 836 lactating mothers, 65% received HBNC voucher; 45.6% received at the time of discharge, and 5.3% during antenatal care. The purpose of HBNC vouchers as a tool of validating ASHAs' home visits was explained to only 14.5% of lactating mothers. Examination of newborn (44.6%), counseling on breastfeeding (57.1%), counseling on care of baby (39.2%), and counseling on immunization (49.2%) were the services commonly provided by ASHA during HBNC visits. Voucher system improved incentive payment system, but uninterrupted supply was a problem area as stated by ASHAs. Auxiliary nurse midwives and ASHA supervisors told that voucher system had improved ASHA home visits, payment system, and increased identification of danger signs of newborns. Conclusions: HBNC voucher system as an innovative approach was found to be effective. Coverage of services varied among different districts. Uninterrupted supply of the vouchers, periodic resensitization of health workers on its use, and increasing awareness among the community is needed to be sustained.


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