|Title||The contribution of Child Health Days to improving coverage of periodic interventions in six African countries|
|Authors||Oliphant, N.P., Mason, J.B., Doherty,T., Chopra, M., Mann,P., Tomlinson, M., Nsibande, D., Mebrahtu, S.|
|Journal Name (if applicable)||Food and Nutrition Bulletin|
|Open Access Y/N||Yes|
|Hard copy PDF Available Y/N||Yes|
|Abstract||Background. Child Health Days have been implemented since the early 2000s in a number of sub-Saharan African countries with support from UNICEF and other development partners with the aim to reduce child morbidity and mortality.
Objective. To estimate the effect of Child Health Days on preventive public health intervention coverage, and possible trade-offs of Child Health Days with facility based health systems coverage, in sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods. Data were assembled and analyzed from population-based sample surveys and administrative records and from local government sources, from six
countries. Field observations (published elsewhere) provided context.
Results. Child Health Days contributed to improving measles immunization coverage by about 10 percentage points and, importantly, provided an opportunity for a
second dose. Child Health Days achieved high coverage of vitamin A supplementation and deworming, and improved access to insecticide-treated nets. Reported
measles cases declined to near zero by 2003–5—a result of the combined efforts of routine immunizations and supplementary immunization activities, often integrated with Child Health Days. Collectively these activities were successful in reaching and sustaining a high enough proportion of the child population to achieve herd immunity and prevent measles transmission.
Conclusions. Additional efforts and resources are needed to continue pushing coverage up, particularly for measles immunization, in rural/hard-to-reach areas,
amongst younger children, and less educated/poorer groups. In countries with low routine immunization coverage, Child Health Days are still needed.