Effectiveness of and factors related to possession of a mother and child health handbook: an analysis using propensity score matching

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Background: Mother and Child Health handbooks (MCH handbooks) serve as useful health education tools for mothers and sources of information that allow health care professionals to understand patient status. Therefore, it is necessary to clarify the effectiveness of and identify the factors related to possession of an MCH handbook among parents in rural Western Kenya using propensity score matching (PSM). Methods: A community-based cross-sectional survey using a structured questionnaire was conducted in rural western Kenya from August to September, 2011. We targeted 2560 mothers with children aged 12-24 months. Both PSM and multivariate logistic analyses were used in this study. Results: Impacts of 5.9, 9.4, and 12.6 percentage points for higher health knowledge and for proper health-seeking behavior for fever and diarrhea, respectively, were statistically significant. The significant factors affecting possession of the MCH Handbook were the child's sex, the caregiver's relationship to the child, maternal age, health knowledge, birth interval, household wealth index and CHW performance accordingly. Conclusions: An MCH handbook was an effective tool for improving both health knowledge and health-seeking behavior in Kenya. The further distribution and utilization of an MCH handbook is expected to be an effective way to improve both maternal and child health.

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