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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 78-80
Social Audits for Community Action: A tool to Initiate Community Action for Reducing Child Mortality

Department of Social & Preventive Medicine, S.N. Medical College, Agra-282 002., India

Correspondence Address:
D Nandan
Department of Social & Preventive Medicine, S.N. Medical College, Agra-282 002.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-0218.42853

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Research question : (i) What is the community's perception (assessment & analysis) of causes underlying neonatal, infant and under five deaths? (ii) What action does the community take thereafter? Objectives : To stimulate the community to assess and analyze the causes and underlying social delays responsible for neonatal, infant and under five deaths in their villages and subsequently take collective action to prevent these deaths in future using Social Audits for Community Action (SACA). Design : Retrospective Participatory study. Setting : Rural community development blocks, district Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Material and Methods : SACA were conducted in a total of 152 villages of Fathehpur Sikri and Bichpuri blocks of district Agra, U.P. One SACA was conducted in each of the 211 anganwadi catchment areas, wherein 10-15 women from different socio­clusters of the community participated in a participatory discussion on issues pertaining to number of births and deaths of children less than five years of age in the last one-year. Results : 7656 live births and 749 under-five deaths were reported during the year 2002. The neonatal, infant and under-five mortality rate was 39.4, 73.5 and 85 per 1,000 live births respectively. Hypothermia, pneumonia, birth asphyxia, prematurity and low birth weight emerged as major causes of neonatal deaths. Majority of deaths of infants and children 1-5 years of age were found to have occurred due to severe malnutrition and diarrhoea. The community realized that majority of deaths occurred because of the delay in recognition of the seriousness of problem, delay in taking decision to seek appropriate care and delay in arranging transport/money. Subsequently, behaviour change communication strategies were re-defined to help community assess signs of illness and take preparedness measures to prevent child deaths in future. Conclusion : Strategies like dialoguing with the community using social audits for community action is a more useful and cost effective approach for initiating behaviour change at community level.

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