KARACHI – Strengthening supportive supervision by lady health supervisors through household supervisory visits and written feedback could significantly improve lady health workers’ skills for managing childhood diarrhoea and pneumonia in rural Sindh.
This was stated at a dissemination seminar about NIGRAAN, a two-year research project in district Badin by the Aga Khan University’s department of community health sciences in collaboration with the Sindh health department.
The project is funded by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, an international collaboration hosted by the World Health Organization. The project that began on Sept 1, 2013 will be completed on Oct 31, 2015.
“The project aims to identify ways for strengthening structured supportive supervision of LHWs in order to improve community case management of childhood diarrhea and pneumonia in rural Sindh,” said Dr Fauziah Rabbani, Professor and Chair of AKU’s department of community health sciences and the principal investigator of the project.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Khalid Shaikh of Sindh health department highlighted the importance of evidence-based decision making for better child health outcome.
Pakistan’s National Programme for Family Planning and Primary Health Care – launched in 1994 and commonly referred to as the LHWs’ programme – covers 60 per cent of the country’s rural population. It has a structured system of supervision where lady health supervisors are responsible for on-going supervision and monitoring of the LHWs.
As first line community care givers, LHWs address major health problems of women and children, including pneumonia and diarrhoea that still contribute to 30pc of all deaths among children under five.
There are a total of 1,094 LHWs in district Badin, who are supervised by 36 lady health supervisors.
The impact of household visit and written feedback by LHS was evident with an improvement of 19 and 34 per cent in post-NIGRAAN intervention LHWs’ knowledge and skills scores, respectively.
Reporting also increased to 97pc due to the use of simple mobile phones, out of which 93pc cases were reported during the 24 hours of identification.
Based on the findings, researchers recommended a need for regular training and assessment, supportive supervision, timely and regular availability of operational funds, a SMS-based communication system between LHS and LHW, and further enhancing their role in the community.
The meeting was attended, among others, by Sindh health department’s provincial coordinator (LHW Programme) Dr Jai Ram Das and assistant provincial coordinator Dr Pir Ghulam Hussain, Badin district’s officials – Dr Mehboob Khawaja, Dr Aijaz Ursani and Ms Taskeen Fatima -, deputy director (Development) Dr Abdul Jabber Memon, and deputy provincial coordinator Dr Ismail Memon. The Dean of AKU Medical College, Dr Farhat Abbas and lady health supervisors from the district Badin and the entire team of project NIGRAAN.