Leveraging Existing Health Systems to Promote Early Childhood Development
Project Site Name: Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College
Project Site Location: Belagavi, India
UIC CGH Faculty Contact: Reshma Shah, MD
We have collaborated with pediatricians and researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in Belagavi, India to support early childhood development in low-income, rural communities and further leverage India’s Primary Health Centers (PHC). There are currently over 28,000 PHCs, which are government run health centers in India. Each PHC usually serves between 25,000-30,000 individuals and are staffed by one physician, paramedical staff (e.g., nurses, and nurse midwives), and many accredited social health activists (ASHA). ASHWA workers are government-funded community health workers who are tasked to support maternal and child well-being (in the first three years of life) and act as liaisons between health systems and rural populations. There are over 800,000 ASHA workers in India. With our collaborators in India, we are working to implement an accessible and sustainable program to support evidence-based parenting behaviors within PHCs that can be delivered by ASHA workers and ultimately offer a promising population-level strategy to support early childhood development.