Maternal knowledge and practices in Early Childhood Development

A cluster-randomized controlled trials in rural Bangladesh

Asad Islam and Ummul Ruthbah

Globally malnutrition and diseases relating poor hygiene cause a large share of death of children under 5 years and are also considered as major development impediments. The burden is larger in low- and middle-income countries where they often coexist. Poor socioeconomic status contributes to developmental delay and underachievement, and lower parental investment in child development. Yet, little is known about parental knowledge on child development and its association with children’s developmental outcomes in low income settings. We are conducting a randomized controlled trial where we are running an information campaign with mothers on caring of children aged 1-3 years in order to examine association between maternal knowledge on child development and developmental outcomes of children in short and medium run in a resource poor setting in rural Bangladesh.

This intervention seeks to empower mothers in the targeted community with more knowledge on rearing and caring of children aged 1-3 years. Mothers learn more about child nutrition and feeding, hygiene in child caring, and home environment favourable to child development, and easy and affordable way to translate those into daily practices, which we expect will lead to positive health and development outcomes in their children. To support their learning and encourage them to translate them in action, fortnightly half-day, refresher sessions following after completion of main sessions. In one of the treatment arms, learning is further supported by fortnightly home visits by trained fieldworkers. The intervention promotes optimal and efficient utilization of existing and available resources and services. Thus, it will provide mothers a list and contact of local and district level healthcare providers for children in order to make them aware of local resources and services, and they will be encouraged to seek help and avail services when required. While the control arm will not receive any such information, it will receive, the same list like treatment arms.

The research is supported by ESRC.