Practices of essential newborn care among tribes of central India: a case study of Bhils of Madhya Pradesh, India

Kalyan B. Saha, Regional Medical Research Centre for Tribals (ICMR), India
Ravendra K. Sharma, Regional Medical Research Centre for Tribals (ICMR), India
Dinesh Kumar, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
Surendra Kumar, Regional Medical Research Centre for Tribals (ICMR), India

Infant and neonatal mortality is relatively higher in Central India and there is a scarcity of data on newborn health and health care practices among tribes. The study assessed the knowledge and practices of essential newborn care among Bhils – the largest tribe of Madhya Pradesh state. Overall, 1046 mothers with < 2 years child (RDWs) were interviewed from 60 villages selected through PPS sampling in Dhar district. Three composite knowledge indices (good neonatal feeding, good cord care, and optimal thermal care knowledge) were created by combining related individual knowledge for a list of antenatal/essential newborn care practices. Similarly, the follow of essential newborn care practices were assessed for three indicators, the early initiation of breastfeeding, cord care and thermal care. Both univariatre and multivariate techniques are used to study the association of different background variables with knowledge and use of essential newborn care. The study shows that most of the babies were given first bath on the same day and many of them were not wrapped and dried till the delivery of placenta. The use of prelacteal is very common (90%) in the community and ‘gur pani’ (sugar water) is most commonly used. About 60% babies were put to the mother’s breast first time after three days of birth. The medically acceptable essential newborn practices are low in Bhil community and do not differ much by socioeconomic groups. The study shows that despite being established maternal and child health policies in the country, most neonatal interventions are not reaching to newborns.

Presented in Poster Session 2