Video Spotlight

"'I'm a Health Worker' - Abduaraman Gidi" made by IntraHealth International.

Mark Tomlinson, Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, Jessica Harwood, Ingrid M. le Roux, Mary O’Connor and Carol Worthman

Maternal antenatal depression has long-term consequences for children’s health. We examined if home visits by community health workers (CHW) can improve growth outcomes for children of mothers who are antenatally depressed.

Maternal and child health intervention strategies have tended to address only one health risk at a time. As a result many studies provide little insight on the confluence of challenges faced by mothers in LMIC. This project evaluated a community-based, home visiting program utilising CHW who were trained to address multiple health challenges facing pregnant South African mothers and their newborn infants. The CHW were trained to conduct home visits that addressed nutrition, alcohol, and HIV among pregnant township women, but not maternal depression. The training approach aimed to teach principles of behaviour change, based on cognitive behavioral principles (CBT). 

CHW supported the mother to problem solve her own situation, rather than to provide solutions for her daily stressors and health challenges. While the CHW did not focus specifically on depressed mood, many of the factors related to positive child outcomes were addressed by the CHW. The authors report the child growth outcomes over the first six months of life, based on intervention status and maternal depression.

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