In this week's PLoS Medicine, David Osrin of the UCL Institute of Child Health, UK and colleagues report findings from a cluster-randomized trial conducted in Mumbai slums that aimed to evaluate whether facilitator-supported women's groups could improve perinatal outcomes.
Their findings indicate that while it is possible to facilitate the discussion of perinatal health care by urban women's groups in the challenging conditions that exist in the slums of Mumbai, there was no measureable effect of community mobilization through the facilitation of women's groups on perinatal health at the population level.
The authors note: "Facilitating urban community groups was feasible, and there was evidence of behaviour change, but we did not see population-level effects on health care or mortality. In cities with multiple sources of health care, but inequitable access to services, community mobilization should be integrated with attempts to deliver services for the poorest and most vulnerable, and with initiatives to improve quality of care in both public and private sectors."
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Shah More N, Bapat U, Das S, Alcock G, Patil S, et al. (2012) Community Mobilization in Mumbai Slums to Improve Perinatal Care and Outcomes: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS Med 9(7): e1001257. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001257