The EPICS Trial: Enabling Parents to Increase Child Survival through the introduction of community-based health interventions in rural Guinea Bissau

Mann, Vera; Fazzio, Ila; King, Rebecca; Walker, Polly; dos Santos, Albino; de Sa, Jose Carlos; Jayanti, Chitra; Frost, Chris; Elbourne, Diana; Boone, Peter
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p279
Academic Journal
Background: Guinea-Bissau is a small country in West Africa with a population of 1.7 million. The WHO and UNICEF reported an under-five child mortality of 203 per 1000, the 10th highest amongst 192 countries. The aim of the trial is to assess whether an intervention package that includes community health promotion campaign and education through health clubs, intensive training and mentoring of village health workers to diagnose and provide first-line treatment for children's diseases within the community, and improved outreach services can generate a rapid and cost-effective reduction in under-five child mortality in rural regions of Guinea-Bissau. Effective Intervention plans to expand the project to a much larger region if there is good evidence after two and a half years that the project is generating a cost-effective, sustainable reduction in child mortality. Methods/design: This trial is a cluster-randomised controlled trial involving 146 clusters. The trial will run for 2.5 years. The interventions will be introduced in two stages: seventy-three clusters will receive the interventions at the start of the project, and seventy-three control clusters will receive the interventions 2.5 years after the first clusters have received all interventions if the research shows that the interventions are effective. The impact of the interventions and cost-effectiveness will be measured during the first stage. The package of interventions includes a community health promotion campaign and education through health clubs, and intensive training and mentoring of village health workers to diagnose and provide first-line treatment for common children's diseases within the community. It also includes improved outreach services to encourage provision of antenatal and post natal care and provide ongoing monitoring for village health workers. The primary outcome of the trial will be the proportion of children that die under 5 years of age during the trial. Secondary outcomes will include age at and cause of child deaths, neonatal mortality, infant mortality, maternal mortality, health knowledge, health seeking behaviour, morbidity and costs. Discussion: The trial will be run by research and service delivery teams that act independently, overseen by a trial steering committee. A data monitoring committee will be appointed to monitor the outcome and any adverse effects. Trial Registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN52433336


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