Understanding the relationship of maternal health behavior change and intervention strategies in a Nicaraguan NGO network
Few studies of community interventions examine independent effects of investments in: (1) capital (i.e., physical, human and social capital), and (2) management systems (e.g., monitoring and evaluation systems (M&E)) on maternal and child health behavior change. This paper does this in the context of an inter-organizational network. In Nicaragua, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local NGOs formed the NicaSalud Federation. Using Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS), 14 member organizations took baselines measures of maternal safe motherhood and child health behavior indicators during November 1999 and August 2000, respectively, and final evaluation measures in December 2001. In April 2002, retrospective interviews were conducted with supervisors and managers in the 14 organizations to explore changes made to community health strategies, factors associated with the changes, and impacts they attributed to participating in NicaSalud. Physical capital (density of health huts), human capital (density and variety of paramedical personnel) and social capital (density of health committees) were associated with pregnant women attending antenatal care (ANC) 3+ times, and/or retaining ANC cards. The variety of paramedic personnel was also associated with women making post-partum visits to clinics. Physical capital (density of health huts) and social capital (density of health committees and mothers' clubs) were associated with child diarrhea case management indicators. One safe motherhood indicator (delivery of babies by a clinician) was not associated with intervention strategies. At the management level, NicaSalud's training of members to use LQAS for M&E was associated with the number of strategic and tactical changes they subsequently made to interventions (organizational learning). Organizational learning was related to changes in maternal and child health behaviors of the women (including changes in the proportion using post-partum care). As the latter result would not have occurred without NicaSalud, we conclude that this inter-organizational network provided added value by instigating organizational learning.
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Volume (Year): 61 (2005)
Issue (Month): 6 (September)
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