The determinants of compliance with an early intervention programme for high-risk babies in India


Dr Nandita de Souza, Sethu Trust for Child Development & Family Guidance, 35, Defence Colony, Alto Porvorim, Goa 403521, India


Background Early intervention is known to improve outcomes for babies at risk for growth and developmental problems. Such programmes usually have a prolonged course and require frequent contacts with the service providers. As a consequence of poverty, illiteracy and lack of communication facilities in developing countries, treatment adherence can suffer.

Methods The present study is an analysis of a clinic-based early intervention programme for high-risk babies in a developing society in Goa, India. A sample of 152 neonates and their parents were offered an early intervention programme and followed up until their first birthday. The primary outcome under study was the uptake of the programme. Various socio-demographic, programmatic and infant-related variables that could affect compliance were examined.

Results Compliance with the intervention programme was only moderate, with 59.2% of infants brought for three or more sessions. Higher maternal educational levels and proximity of the place of residence of the family to the early intervention clinic were significantly associated with better compliance.

Conclusions Early intervention programmes that go into homes have a greater chance of reaching high-risk infants, compared with those provided at a distant centre. Better-educated mothers are more likely to be convinced about the benefits of such inputs. The authors conclude with recommendations for future practice and research.