Maternal and child surveillance in peri-urban communities: Perceptions of women and community health workers from Pakistan

Ayesha Khalid, Rehan Adamjee, Saima Sattar, Zahra Hoodbhoy

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Community health workers (CHWs) in maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) programs play an important role in demographic surveillance activities; however, there is lack of literature regarding the community and CHWs’ perceptions about these activities. The purpose of this study was to explore perceptions of married women of reproductive age (MWRA) regarding the role of CHWs involved in maternal and child surveillance and explore facilitators and barriers for CHWs involved in surveillance activities. A qualitative study was conducted in five peri-urban surveillance sites along the coastal belt of Bin Qasim Town, Karachi, Pakistan. In-depth interviews were conducted with 25 randomly selected MWRAs and 15 CHWs. A thematic analysis was performed to explore perceptions, barriers, and facilitators of the study participants about maternal and child surveillance activities. The results showed that MWRAs perceived surveillance CHWs as service providers with regards to standard counselling i.e. importance of antenatal care, nutrition, immunization, and distribution of iron and folic acid tablets to pregnant women, child growth assessment, and referral of sick children to the health facility. Trust in the CHWs was an enabler for MWRAs, whereas lack of incentives was cited as a barrier to share their health data. CHWs perceived themselves as a bridge in liaising community with the primary health care facility. They highlighted an enabling environment such as appreciation, supportive supervision, training, and utilization of digital data collection tools as facilitators for their work. Low health literacy of the communities, lack of provision of incentives by CHWs to the community, and facility-based experiences of the community were reported as barriers. Surveillance CHWs are an integral link between the health facility and MWRAs. Hence an enabling environment may lead to improved health service delivery, translating into meaningful impact for the mother and child.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0000295
JournalPLOS Global Public Health
Issue number4 April
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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