Effect of sharing health messages on antenatal care behavior among women involved in microfinance-based self-help groups in Bihar India

Publication Year: February 2020

Authors: Monika Walia, Laili Irani, Indrajit Chaudhuri, Yamini Atmavilas, Niranjan Saggurti

Contributing Organization: BMC Global Health Research and Policy

Background: Bihar, India has one of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality. Microfinance-based self-health groups (SHGs), among rural women, are used to improve maternal and child health practice and reduce mortality. Members of SHGs receive information on key maternal and child health practices and encouragement. This study aims to measure the association of health messaging to SHG members as they relate to antenatal care (ANC) behaviors.

Methods: This three-stage cluster sampling study selected a sample of 1204 SHG members who had infants. From this sample, 597 participants were SHG members that received sessions on health messages and 607 members belonged to SHGs that did not receive these sessions. Radius caliper method of propensity score matching controlled for various socio-demographic characteristics between the two groups was used to assess the impact of the interventions on ANC behaviors and practice.

Results: Exposure to the intervention is associated with increased likelihood of at least four ANC visits by SHG women, consumption of iron-folic acid for a minimum of 100 days and complete ANC, as compared to women in SHGs not exposed to the intervention.

Conclusions: Sharing health messages in microfinance based SHGs is associated with significant increase in ANC practice.