Publications by authors named "Dej Shrestha"

5 Publications

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Long-term impact of community-based participatory women's groups on child and maternal mortality and child disability: follow-up of a cluster randomised trial in rural Nepal.

BMJ Glob Health 2018 1;3(6):e001024. Epub 2018 Dec 1.

UCL Institute for Global Health, University College London, London, UK.

Background: Community-based women's groups practising participatory learning and action (PLA) can reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in low-income countries. However, it is not clear whether these reductions are associated with subsequent increased or decreased rates of childhood death and disability. We assessed the impact on child deaths and disability beyond the perinatal period among participants in the earliest trial in Nepal 2001-2003.

Methods: Household interviews were conducted with mothers or household heads. At cluster and individual levels, we analysed disability using pairwise log relative risks and survival using multilevel logistic models.

Findings: From 6075 children and 6117 mothers alive at 4 weeks post partum, 44 419 children (73%) were available for interview a mean 11.5 years later. Rates of child deaths beyond the perinatal period were 36.6 and 52.0 per 1000 children in the intervention and control arms respectively. Rates of disability were 62.7 and 85.5 per 1000 children in the intervention and control arms respectively. Individual-level analysis, including random effects for cluster pairing and adjusted for baseline maternal literacy, socioeconomic status and maternal age, showed lower, statistically non-significant, odds of child deaths (OR 0.70 (95% CI 0.43 to 1.18) and disability (0.64 (0.39 to 1.06)) in the intervention arm.

Conclusion: Community-level exposure to women's groups practising PLA did not significantly impact childhood death or disability or death beyond the perinatal period. Follow-up of other trials with larger sample sizes is warranted in order to explore the possibility of potential long-term survival and disability benefits with greater precision.
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December 2018

Prenatal and perinatal risk factors for disability in a rural Nepali birth cohort.

BMJ Glob Health 2017 6;2(3):e000312. Epub 2017 Aug 6.

Great Ormond Street UCL Institute for Child Health, University College London, London, UK.

Background: Improving newborn health remains a global health priority. Little however is known about the neurodevelopmental consequences for survivors of complications in pregnancy, labour and the neonatal period in in low-income countries outside of small selective and typically urban facility studies. We ask which antenatal, birth and neonatal factors are associated with disability in childhood in a large community birth cohort from rural Nepal.

Methods: 6436 infants were recruited during a cluster randomised control trial (RCT) of participatory women's groups (ISRCTN31137309), of whom 6075 survived beyond 28 days. At mean age of 11∙5 years (range 9.5-13.1), 4219 children (27% lost to follow-up) were available for disability screening which was conducted by face-to-face interview using the Module on Child Functioning and Disability produced by the Washington Group/UNICEF. Hypothesised risk factors for disability underwent multivariable regression modelling.

Findings: Overall prevalence of disability was 7.4%. Maternal underweight (OR 1.44 (95% CI 1.01-2.08)), maternal cohabitation under 16 years of age (OR 1.50 (1.13-2.00)), standardised infant weight at 1 month (OR 0.82 (0.71-0.95)) and reported infant diarrhoea and vomiting in the first month (OR 2.48 (1.58-3.89)) were significantly associated with disability adjusted for trial allocation. The majority of hypothesised risk factors, including prematurity, were not significant.

Interpretation: Proxies for early marriage and low birth weight and a measure of maternal undernutrition were associated with increased odds of disability. The lack of association of most other recognised risk factors for adverse outcome and disability may be due to survival bias.
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August 2017

Effect of a participatory intervention with women's groups on birth outcomes in Nepal: cluster-randomised controlled trial.

Lancet 2004 Sep 11-17;364(9438):970-9

Mother and Infant Research Activities (MIRA), PO Box 921, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Background: Neonatal deaths in developing countries make the largest contribution to global mortality in children younger than 5 years. 90% of deliveries in the poorest quintile of households happen at home. We postulated that a community-based participatory intervention could significantly reduce neonatal mortality rates.

Methods: We pair-matched 42 geopolitical clusters in Makwanpur district, Nepal, selected 12 pairs randomly, and randomly assigned one of each pair to intervention or control. In each intervention cluster (average population 7000), a female facilitator convened nine women's group meetings every month. The facilitator supported groups through an action-learning cycle in which they identified local perinatal problems and formulated strategies to address them. We monitored birth outcomes in a cohort of 28?931 women, of whom 8% joined the groups. The primary outcome was neonatal mortality rate. Other outcomes included stillbirths and maternal deaths, uptake of antenatal and delivery services, home care practices, infant morbidity, and health-care seeking. Analysis was by intention to treat. The study is registered as an International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial, number ISRCTN31137309.

Findings: From 2001 to 2003, the neonatal mortality rate was 26.2 per 1000 (76 deaths per 2899 livebirths) in intervention clusters compared with 36.9 per 1000 (119 deaths per 3226 livebirths) in controls (adjusted odds ratio 0.70 [95% CI 0.53-0.94]). Stillbirth rates were similar in both groups. The maternal mortality ratio was 69 per 100000 (two deaths per 2899 livebirths) in intervention clusters compared with 341 per 100000 (11 deaths per 3226 livebirths) in control clusters (0.22 [0.05-0.90]). Women in intervention clusters were more likely to have antenatal care, institutional delivery, trained birth attendance, and hygienic care than were controls.

Interpretation: Birth outcomes in a poor rural population improved greatly through a low cost, potentially sustainable and scalable, participatory intervention with women's groups.
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September 2004

Implementing a community-based participatory intervention to improve essential newborn care in rural Nepal.

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 2003 Jan-Feb;97(1):18-21

Centre for International Child Health, Institute of Child Health, London, WC1N 1EH, UK.

The persistence of high perinatal and neonatal mortality rates in many developing countries make efforts to improve perinatal care in the home and at local health facilities important public health concerns. We describe a study which aims to evaluate a community-level participatory intervention in rural Nepal. The effectiveness of community-based action research interventions with mothers and other key members of the community in improving perinatal health outcomes is being examined using a cluster randomized, controlled trial covering a population of 28,000 married women of reproductive age. The unit of randomization was the village development committee (VDC): 12 VDCs receive the intervention while 12 serve as controls. The key elements of the intervention are the activities of female facilitators, each of whom works in one VDC facilitating the activities of women's groups in addressing problems in pregnancy, childbirth and the newborn period. Each group moves through a participatory planning cycle of assessment, sharing experiences, planning, action and reassessment, with the aim of improving essential maternal and newborn care. Outcomes assessed are neonatal and perinatal mortality rates, changes in patterns of home care, health care seeking and referral. The study also aims to generate programmatic information on the process of implementation in communities.
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September 2003

Cross sectional, community based study of care of newborn infants in Nepal.

BMJ 2002 Nov;325(7372):1063

International Perinatal Care Unit, Institute of Child Health, University College London, London WC1N 1EH.

Objective: To determine home based newborn care practices in rural Nepal in order to inform strategies to improve neonatal outcome.

Design: Cross sectional, retrospective study using structured interviews.

Setting: Makwanpur district, Nepal.

Participants: 5411 married women aged 15 to 49 years who had given birth to a live baby in the past year.

Main Outcomes Measures: Attendance at delivery, hygiene, thermal care, and early feeding practices.

Results: 4893 (90%) women gave birth at home. Attendance at delivery by skilled government health workers was low (334, 6%), as was attendance by traditional birth attendants (267, 5%). Only 461 (8%) women had used a clean home delivery kit, and about half of attendants had washed their hands. Only 3482 (64%) newborn infants had been wrapped within half an hour of birth, and 4992 (92%) had been bathed within the first hour. 99% (5362) of babies were breast fed, 91% (4939) within six hours of birth. Practices with respect to colostrum and prelacteals were not a cause for anxiety.

Conclusions: Health promotion interventions most likely to improve newborn health in this setting include increasing attendance at delivery by skilled service providers, improving information for families about basic perinatal care, promotion of clean delivery practices, early cord cutting and wrapping of the baby, and avoidance of early bathing.
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November 2002