Evaluation of information, education and communication on child health in Amansie East District, Ashanti Region, Ghana

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The provision of IEC has been long considered a key component of public health programmes. Within the Ghana Health Service, not only is IEC supposed to inform mothers of the existing services in order to increase the use of those services, but also to educate mothers on the proper use of services to ensure correct and continued usage. The present national and regional situations indicate that coverage indicators of some child health services are still not the best in spite of various planned interventions. The main purpose of the study was to evaluate IEC on Child health in the Amansie East District in Ashanti Region and to make recommendations. The study was a descriptive one. The sample of the study was drawn using a multi stage sampling. A total of 213 respondents were selected, comprising 202 mothers and 11 RCH staff for the data collection. Existing IEC approaches/strategies, mode of administration of IEC, quality of staff disseminating IEC, reach and frequency of the existing IEC and effects of IEC on mothers were evaluated to find out whether IEC could be part of the reasons for the low coverage as far as child health services are concerned. The analysis of the findings reveals that 100% of the RCH staff used print materials (posters) as the main mode of administration. Approximately 90% used interpersonal as the main strategy. On the reach of existing IEC, only the district capital and the health centres had few posters on child health. On the frequency, approximately one out of every four mothers questioned in the community was able to recall that nurses visit them monthly. It is also striking to note that approximately 90% of the RCH staff were not able to define IEC, neither were they able to say anything meaningful as far as IEC is concerned. Mothers’ knowledge on various antigens for immunizations and immunization schedule are still very low. 20.8% of mothers were found not to be able to mention any antigen despite their exposure. The study suggests that IEC may be a determinant of low coverage of child health indicators. It is recommended that minimum budget should be provided by the District Health Management Team (DHMT) for the development of the basic formula of IEC. In addition, the DHMT should implement selective reward programme for health staff in communities where caregivers are highly knowledgeable about vaccines and immunization schedules. Also further studies should be conducted to determine the best approach of IEC based on the characteristics of mothers in the district.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Master of Science Health Education and Promotion, 2007