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Women's groups practising participatory learning and action to improve maternal and newborn health in low-resource settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Prost, A; Colbourn, T; Seward, N; Azad, K; Coomarasamy, A; Copas, A; Houweling, TA; ... Costello, A; + view all (2013) Women's groups practising participatory learning and action to improve maternal and newborn health in low-resource settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet , 381 (9879) 1736 - 1746. 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60685-6. Green open access

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Abstract

Maternal and neonatal mortality rates remain high in many low-income and middle-income countries. Different approaches for the improvement of birth outcomes have been used in community-based interventions, with heterogeneous effects on survival. We assessed the effects of women's groups practising participatory learning and action, compared with usual care, on birth outcomes in low-resource settings.

Type: Article
Title: Women's groups practising participatory learning and action to improve maternal and newborn health in low-resource settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60685-6
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60685-6
Language: English
Additional information: Background Maternal and neonatal mortality rates remain high in many low-income and middle-income countries. Different approaches for the improvement of birth outcomes have been used in community-based interventions, with heterogeneous effects on survival. We assessed the effects of women's groups practising participatory learning and action, compared with usual care, on birth outcomes in low-resource settings. Methods We did a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials undertaken in Bangladesh, India, Malawi, and Nepal in which the effects of women's groups practising participatory learning and action were assessed to identify population-level predictors of effect on maternal mortality, neonatal mortality, and stillbirths. We also reviewed the cost-effectiveness of the women's group intervention and estimated its potential effect at scale in Countdown countries. Findings Seven trials (119 428 births) met the inclusion criteria. Meta-analyses of all trials showed that exposure to women's groups was associated with a 23% non-significant reduction in maternal mortality (odds ratio 0·77, 95% CI 0·48–1·23), a 20% reduction in neonatal mortality (0·80, 0·67–0·96), and a 7% non-significant reduction in stillbirths (0·93, 0·82–1·05), with high heterogeneity for maternal (I2=64·0%, p=0·011) and neonatal results (I2=73·2%, p=0·001). In the meta-regression analyses, the proportion of pregnant women in groups was linearly associated with reduction in both maternal and neonatal mortality (p=0·019 and p=0·009, respectively). A subgroup analysis of the four studies in which at least 30% of pregnant women participated in groups showed a 49% reduction in maternal mortality (0·51, 0·29–0·89) and a 33% reduction in neonatal mortality (0·67, 0·60–0·75). The intervention was cost effective by WHO standards and could save an estimated 283 000 newborn infants and 36 600 mothers per year if implemented in rural areas of 74 Countdown countries. Interpretation With the participation of at least a third of pregnant women and adequate population coverage, women's groups practising participatory learning and action are a cost-effective strategy to improve maternal and neonatal survival in low-resource settings. Funding Wellcome Trust, Ammalife, and National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for Birmingham and the Black Country programme.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Mathematics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Mathematics > Clinical Operational Research Unit
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1394539
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