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The effects of an area-based intervention on the uptake of maternal and child health assessments in Australia : a community trial

Kelaher, Margaret, Dunt, David, Feldman, Peter, Nolan, Andrea and Raban, Bridie 2009, The effects of an area-based intervention on the uptake of maternal and child health assessments in Australia : a community trial, BMC health services research, vol. 9, no. 53, pp. 1-7.

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Title The effects of an area-based intervention on the uptake of maternal and child health assessments in Australia : a community trial
Author(s) Kelaher, Margaret
Dunt, David
Feldman, Peter
Nolan, Andrea
Raban, Bridie
Journal name BMC health services research
Volume number 9
Issue number 53
Start page 1
End page 7
Total pages 7
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2009-03-25
ISSN 1472-6963
Summary Background
Recognition of the importance of the early years in determining health and educational attainment and promotion of the World Health Organization Health for All (HFA) principles has led to an international trend towards community-based initiatives to improve developmental outcomes among socio-economically disadvantaged children. In this study we examine whether, Best Start, an Australian area-based initiative to improve child health was effective in improving access to Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services.

Methods
The study compares access to information, parental confidence and annual 3.5 year Ages and Stages visiting rates before (2001/02) and after (2004/05) the introduction of Best Start. Access to information and parental confidence were measured in surveys of parents with 3 year old children. There were 1666 surveys in the first wave and 1838 surveys in the second wave. The analysis of visiting rates for the 3.5 year Ages and Stages visit included all eligible Victorian children. Best Start sites included 1,739 eligible children in 2001/02 and 1437 eligible children in 2004/05. The comparable figures in the rest of the state were and 45, 497 and 45, 953 respectively.

Results
There was a significant increase in attendance at the 3.5 year Ages and Stages visit in 2004/05 compared to 2001/02 in all areas. However the increase in attendance was significantly greater at Best Start sites than the rest of the state. Access to information and parental confidence improved over the course of the intervention in Best Start sites with MCH projects compared to other Best Start sites.

Conclusion
These results suggest that community-based initiatives in disadvantaged areas may improve parents' access to child health information, improve their confidence and increase MCH service use. These outcomes suggest such programmes could potentially contribute to strategies to reduce child health inequalities.
Notes This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Language eng
Field of Research 111704 Community Child Health
130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2009, Kelaher et al
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30019450

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Nursing and Midwifery
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.