Spreading information improves delivery of health, social services in rural India

October 22, 2007

Providing a structured informational program about entitled health and social services to resource-poor rural villagers in India improved the delivery of these services to the people who may need them, according to a study in the October 24/31 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on poverty and human development.

This issue of JAMA is being released early because of JAMA's participation in an international collaboration of more than 200 medical and scientific journals to publish articles simultaneously to raise awareness on the topic of the relationship between poverty and human development. This initiative is coordinated by the Council of Science Editors, and presentations regarding some of the studies in this Global Theme Issue will be webcast live from the National Institutes of Health (http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=6239).

The delivery of health and social services in developing countries such as India is often inadequate - in part, because of limited resources allocated by governments and donor agencies. However, increased spending alone may not be sufficient to improve outcomes. Lack of awareness about entitled health and social services may contribute to poor delivery of those services in developing countries, especially among people of low socioeconomic status, according to background information in the article.

Priyanka Pandey, Ph.D., of South Asia Human Development, the World Bank, Washington, D.C., and colleagues conducted a community-based, cluster randomized controlled trial to determine the effect of informing resource-poor rural populations about entitled services. The study was conducted from May 2004 to May 2005 in 105 randomly selected village clusters in Uttar Pradesh state in India. (Uttar Pradesh ranks 23 out of 32 states in India in terms of the proportion of people living below the poverty line.) There were 536 households included in the intervention and 489 control households. Four to six public meetings were held in each intervention village cluster to disseminate information on entitled health and education services. No intervention took place in control village clusters.

"After one year, intervention villagers reported better delivery of several services compared with control villagers," the authors write.

"Improvements occurred in pre-natal services, infant vaccinations, excess school fees, and occurrence of village council meetings," they continue. "Although nurse midwife visits did not increase, 20 percent to 25 percent more households in intervention villages reported that women were receiving pre-natal services and that their infants were being immunized, suggesting that the nurse midwife was performing more duties when a visit did occur." Almost all outcomes improved in intervention villages, while most outcomes either worsened or remained unchanged in control villages.

"Seventy percent of India's population lives in the villages and would benefit from improved basic services. Interventions that educate resource-poor populations about entitled services may improve the delivery of services," the authors conclude. "Such interventions are promising and low-cost means to improve the health and welfare of individuals in developing countries."
-end-
(JAMA. 2007;298(16):1867-1875. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

More information about the Council of Science Editors' Global Theme Issue on Poverty and Human Development is available at http://www.councilscienceeditors.org/globalthemeissue.cfm.

More information about the NIH Global Theme Issue event, 10 a.m. (ET) Monday, October 22, 2007, is available at http://www.fic.nih.gov/news/events/cse.htm.

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Poverty Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 second wave in Myanmar causes dramatic increases in poverty
New evidence combining surveys from urban and rural Myanmar and simulation analysis find COVID-19 second wave dramatically increasing poverty and food insecurity.

Advancing the accurate tracking of energy poverty
IIASA researchers have developed a novel measurement framework to track energy poverty that better aligns with the services people lack rather than capturing the mere absence of physical connections to a source of electricity.

If you're poor, poverty is an environmental issue
A survey from Cornell researchers -- conducted among more than 1,100 US residents -- found that there were, in fact, demographic differences in how people viewed environmental issues, with racial and ethnic minorities and lower-income people more likely to consider human factors such as racism and poverty as environmental, in addition to more ecological issues like toxic fumes from factories or car exhaust.

Poverty associated with suicide risk in children and adolescents
Between 2007 to 2016, nearly 21,000 children ages 5-19 years old died by suicide.

New index maps relationships between poverty and accessibility in Brazil
Poor transportation availability can result in poor access to health care and employment, hence reinforcing the cycle of poverty and concerning health outcomes such as low life expectancy and high child mortality in rural Brazil.

Repeated periods of poverty accelerate the ageing process
People who have found themselves below the relative poverty threshold four or more times in their adult life age significantly earlier than others.

Poverty as disease trap
The realities of subsistence living in a region of Senegal hard hit by schistosomiasis make reinfection likely, despite mass drug administration.

Persistent poverty affects one in five UK children
Persistent poverty affects one in five children in the UK, and is associated with poor physical and mental health in early adolescence, suggests research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Poverty leaves a mark on our genes
In this study, researchers found evidence that poverty can become embedded across wide swaths of the genome.

Satellite images reveal global poverty
How far have we come in achieving the UN's sustainable development goals that we are committed to nationally and internationally?

Read More: Poverty News and Poverty Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.