Health-seeking Behaviour Focusing on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (RMNCH) Services

30th April 2020
Author: Kerina Tull

This report reviews lessons learned from donor-funded interventions which were instituted to improve health-seeking behaviour focusing on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (RMNCH) services in Ethiopia and the surrounding region, specifically for pastoral communities. Health extension workers (HEWs) and health development armies (HDAs) are very trusted in RMNCH interventions. Most donor RMNCH interventions in Ethiopia involve using HEWs to improve health-seeking behaviour. Community study findings imply the presence of positive health-seeking behaviour among pastoralists to using modern health services, which can be further strengthened with interventions promoting these services. However, interventions are faced with challenges of addressing decision-making norms, engaging in intergenerational dialogue, and designing contextually appropriate communication strategies. There is a dearth of evidence available focussing on intervention design strategies in Ethiopia. But, lessons learned are available from other countries/regions. In Kenya, donor-funded handbooks and women’s self-help groups in India have been successfully used to improve RMNCH health-seeking behaviour. Another donor-funded intervention project did not report greatly improved use of services due to insufficient programme structure and staff. Improving early antenatal attendance requires integrated interventions that address both community and health systems barriers, including spouses.

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Suggested Citation

Tull, K. (2020). Health-seeking behaviour focusing on reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) services. K4D Helpdesk Report 798. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.


30th April 2020


Continent: Africa, Asia

Country: East Timor, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi