Cluster randomized trial of a mHealth intervention "ImTeCHO" to improve delivery of proven maternal, neonatal, and child care interventions through community-based Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) by enhancing their motivation and strengthening supervision in tribal areas of Gujarat, India: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.
Trials. 2017 Jun 09;18(1):270
Authors: Modi D, Desai S, Dave K, Shah S, Desai G, Dholakia N, Gopalan R, Shah P
BACKGROUND: To facilitate the delivery of proven maternal, neonatal, and child health (MNCH) services, a new cadre of village-based frontline workers, called the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), was created in 2005 under the aegis of the National Rural Health Mission in India. Evaluations have noted that coverage of selected MNCH services to be delivered by the ASHAs is low. Reasons for low coverage are inadequate supervision and support to ASHAs apart from insufficient skills, poor quality of training, and complexity of tasks to be performed. The proposed study aims to implement and evaluate an innovative intervention based on mobile phone technology (mHealth) to improve the performance of ASHAs through better supervision and support in predominantly tribal and rural communities of Gujarat, India.
METHODS/DESIGN: This is a two-arm, stratified, cluster randomized trial of 36 months in which the units of randomization will be Primary Health Centers (PHCs). There are 11 PHCs in each arm. The intervention is a newly built mobile phone application used in the public health system and evaluated in three ways: (1) mobile phone as a job aid to ASHAs to increase coverage of MNCH services; (2) mobile phone as a job aid to ASHAs and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) to increase coverage of care among complicated cases by facilitating referrals, if indicated and home-based care; (3) web interface as a job aid for medical officers and PHC staff to improve supervision and support to the ASHA program. Participants of the study are pregnant women, mothers, infants, ASHAs, and PHC staff. Primary outcome measures are a composite index made of critical, proven MNCH services and the proportion of neonates who were visited by ASHAs at home within the first week of birth. Secondary outcomes include coverage of selected MNCH services and care sought by complicated cases. Outcomes will be measured by conducting household surveys at baseline and post-intervention which will be compared with usual practice in the control area, where the current level of services provided by the government will continue. The primary analysis will be intention to treat.
DISCUSSION: This study will help answer some critical questions about the effectiveness and feasibility of implementing an mHealth solution in an area of MNCH services.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinical Trial Registry of India, CTRI/2015/06/005847 . Registered on 3 June 2015.
PMID: 28599674 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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