Fostering Maternal and Newborn Care in India the Yashoda Way: Does This Improve Maternal and Newborn Care Practices during Institutional Delivery?
Beena Varghese et al
The Yashoda program, named after a legendary foster-mother in Indian mythology, under the Norway-India Partnership Initiative was launched as a pilot program in 2008 to improve the quality of maternal and neonatal care at facilities in select districts of India. Yashodas were placed mainly at district hospitals, which are high delivery load facilities, to provide support and care to mothers and newborns during their stay at these facilities. This study presents the results from the evaluation of this intervention in two states in India.
Data collection methods included in-depth interviews with healthcare providers and mothers and a survey of mothers who had recently delivered within a quasi-experimental design. Fifty IDIs were done and 1,652 mothers who had delivered in the past three months were surveyed during 2010 and 2011.
A significantly higher proportion of mothers at facilities with Yashodas (55 percent to 97 percent) received counseling on immunization, breastfeeding, family planning, danger signs, and nutrition compared to those in control districts (34 percent to 66 percent). Mothers in intervention facilities were four to five times more likely to receive postnatal checks than mothers in control facilities. Among mothers who underwent cesarean sections, initiation of breastfeeding within five hours was 50 percent higher in intervention facilities. Mothers and families also reported increased support, care and respect at intervention facilities.
Yashoda as mothers’ aide thus seems to be an effective intervention to improve quality of maternal and newborn care in India. Scaling up of this intervention is recommended in district hospitals and other facilities with high volume of deliveries.