Incorporating elements of social franchising in government health services improves the quality of infant and young child feeding counselling services at commune health centres in Vietnam. uri icon

abstract

  • Conclusions Incorporating elements of social franchising significantly enhances the quality of IYCF counselling services within government primary healthcare facilities, particularly their structural and process attributes. Provided that service utilization is improved through demand generation, this model has the potential to impact IYCF practices and child nutrition.
  • Methods Process-related data collected 12 months after the launch of the first franchises were used to compare randomly assigned Alive & Thrive-supported health facilities (AT-F, n = 20) with standard facilities (SF, n = 12) across three dimensions of service quality: 'structure', 'process' and 'outcome' that capture the quality of facilities, service delivery, and client perceptions and use, respectively. Data collection included facility assessments (n = 32), staff surveys (n = 96), counselling observations (n = 137), client exit interviews (n = 137) and in-depth interviews with mothers (n = 48).
  • Results Structure: AT-F were more likely to have an unshared, well-equipped room for nutrition counselling than SF (65.0% vs 10.0%). Process: Compared with SF providers, AT-F staff had better IYCF knowledge (mean score 9.9 vs 8.8, range 0-11 for breastfeeding; mean score 3.6 vs 3.2, range 0-4 for complementary feeding). AT-F providers also demonstrated significantly better interpersonal communication skills (score 9.6 vs 5.1, range 0-13) and offered more comprehensive counselling sessions. Outcome: Overall utilization of franchises was low (10%). A higher proportion of pregnant women utilized franchise services (48.9%), compared with mothers with children 6-23.9 months (1.4%). There was no quantitative difference in client satisfaction with counselling services between AT-F and SF, but franchise users praised the AT-F for problem solving related to child feeding.

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014