Over one billion people live in slums globally, and recent migrants to slums often lack access to health services and suffer worse health outcomes. In Bangladesh, full childhood immunization rates among recent migrants in Dhaka slums are as low as 43% in contrast to 80% nationwide. Among many factors, less knowledge about the availability of health services can lead to low utilization. We piloted a peer networking intervention to improve knowledge of nearby child health services among recently relocated mothers.
We implemented our study in four Dhaka city slums from January to December 2015 (Figure 1). We first conducted formative research with interviews and social network surveys with mothers and community members. We then developed and piloted our intervention which included: 1) distributing print materials with information on nearby child health and immunization services and 2) motivating mothers to network and share health services information with recently relocated mothers.
Mothers often relied on their husbands to help bring children to health centers, but had more social contacts for other activities (Figure 2). Knowledge about any nearby Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) center increased among recently relocated mothers from 51% at baseline to 93% after intervention (Figure 3). Knowledge about any nearby health center among recently relocated mothers also increased from 24% to 100%. For recent EPI visits, recently relocated mothers reported another mother as an information source 36% at baseline and 84% at endline. For recent health center visits, recently relocated mothers reported another mother as an information source 7% at baseline and 30% at endline.
Our pilot peer networking intervention was associated with increased knowledge about nearby child health services among recently relocated mothers in Dhaka slums. Future research on how to find key communicators in social networks, sustain knowledge transfer among mothers, and transform knowledge into behavior would inform strategies to improve health of recently relocated children in slums.
S. Ahmed, None
A. Rabbani, None
S. Luby, None
M. J. Uddin, None