Community-Based Intervention Packages for Improving Perinatal Health in Developing Countries: A Review of the Evidence

Jessica Schiffman, Gary L. Darmstadt, Siddharth Agarwal, Abdullah H. Baqui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The Lancet Neonatal Survival Series categorized neonatal health interventions into 3 service delivery modes: "Outreach," "Family-Community Care," and "Facility-based Clinical Care." Family-Community Care services generally have a greater potential impact on neonatal health than Outreach services, with similar costs. Combining interventions from all 3 service delivery modes is ideal for achievement of high impact. However, access to clinical care is limited in resource-poor settings with weak health systems. The current trend for those settings is to combine neonatal interventions into community-based intervention packages (CBIPs), which can be integrated into the local health care system. In this article, we searched several large databases to identify all published, large-scale, controlled studies that were implemented in a rural setting, included a control group, and reported neonatal and/or perinatal mortality as outcomes. We identified only 9 large-scale studies that fit these criteria. Several conclusions can be reached. (1) Family-Community Care interventions can have a substantial effect on neonatal and perinatal mortality. (2) Several important common strategies were used across the studies, including community mobilization, health education, behavior change communication sessions, care seeking modalities, and home visits during pregnancy and after birth. However, implementation of these interventions varied widely across the studies. (3) There is a need for additional, large-scale studies to test evidence-based CBIPs in developing countries, particularly in Africa, where no large-scale studies were identified. (4) We need to establish consistent, clearly defined terminology and protocols for designing trials and reporting outcomes so that we are able to compare results across different settings. (5) There is an urgent need to invest in research and program development focusing on neonatal health in urban areas. (6) It is crucial to integrate CBIPs in rural and urban settings into the already existing health care system to facilitate sustainability of the program and for scaling up. It is also important to evaluate the packages and to demonstrate the health impact of large-scale implementation. (7) Finally, there is a need for improving the continuum of care between home and facility-based care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-476
Number of pages15
JournalSeminars in Perinatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Community-based
  • Intervention packages
  • Neonatal health
  • Neonatal mortality
  • Urban slums

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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