Community health workers can improve child growth of antenatally-depressed SA mothers

A cluster randomised controlled trial

This research paper examines whether home visits by community health workers (CHWs) can improve growth outcomes for children of mothers who are antenatally depressed.

Almost all mothers were recruited and assessed during pregnancy, at two weeks after birth and again six months after birth. They were all randomised to either: 1) Standard Care (SC), which provided routine antenatal care; or 2) an intervention, The Philani Intervention Programme (PIP), which included SC and home visits by CHWs trained as generalists.

The Philani Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Project has been addressing child health and nutrition problems in informal settlements around Cape Town since 1979. Ilifa Labantwana supported the evaluation of the study in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. The findings of this research stem from this evaluation.

Written by Mark Tomlinson, Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, Jessica Harwood, Ingrid M. le Roux, Mary O’Connor and Carol Worthman. Published by BMC Psychiatry in 2015.

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