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ASHA-Led Community-Based Groups to Support Control of Hypertension in Rural India Are Feasible and Potentially Scalable

Publication Type : Journal Article

Source : Front. Med. 8:771822

Url :

Campus : Kochi

School : School of Medicine

Year : 2021

Abstract : Background: To improve the control of hypertension in low- and middle-income countries, we trialed a community-based group program co-designed with local policy makers to fit within the framework of India's health system. Trained accredited social health activists (ASHAs), delivered the program, in three economically and developmentally diverse settings in rural India. We evaluated the program's implementation and scalability. Methods: Our mixed methods process evaluation was guided by the United Kingdom Medical Research Council guidelines for complex interventions. Meeting attendance reports, as well as blood pressure and weight measures of attendees and adherence to meeting content and use of meeting tools were used to evaluate the implementation process. Thematic analysis of separate focus group discussions with participants and ASHAs as well as meeting reports and participant evaluation were used to investigate the mechanisms of impact. Results: Fifteen ASHAs led 32 community-based groups in three rural settings in the states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, Southern India. Overall, the fidelity of intervention delivery was high. Six meetings were delivered over a 3-month period to each of the intervention groups. The mean number of meetings attended by participants at each site varied significantly, with participants in Rishi Valley attending fewer meetings [mean (SD) = 2.83 (1.68)] than participants in West Godavari (Tukeys test, p = 0.009) and Trivandrum (Tukeys test, p < 0.001) and participants in West Godavari [mean (SD) = 3.48 (1.72)] attending significantly fewer meetings than participants in Trivandrum [mean (SD) = 4.29 (1.76), Tukeys test, p < 0.001]. Culturally appropriate intervention resources and the training of ASHAs, and supportive supervision of them during the program were critical enablers to program implementation. Although highly motivated during the implementation of the program ASHA reported historical issues with timely remuneration and lack of supportive supervision. Conclusions: Culturally appropriate community-based group programs run by trained and supported ASHAs are a successful and potentially scalable model for improving the control of hypertension in rural India. However, consideration of issues related to unreliable/insufficient remuneration for ASHAs, supportive supervision and their formal role in the wider health workforce in India will be important to address in future program scale up. Trial Registration: Clinical Trial Registry of India [CTRI/2016/02/006678, Registered prospectively].

Cite this Research Publication : Riddell MA, Mini GK, Joshi R, Thrift AG, Guggilla RK, Evans RG, Thankappan KR, Chalmers K, Chow CK, Mahal AS, Kalyanram K, Kartik K, Suresh O, Thomas N, Maulik PK, Srikanth VK, Arabshahi S, Varma RP, D’Esposito F and Oldenburg B (2021) ASHA-Led Community-Based Groups to Support Control of Hypertension in Rural India Are Feasible and Potentially Scalable. Front. Med. 8:771822. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.771822 (impact factor 5.091)

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