To evaluate the effect of a continuum-of-care intervention package on adequate contacts of women and newborn with healthcare providers and their reception of high-quality care.
Cluster randomised controlled trial.
32 subdistricts in 3 rural sites in Ghana.
The baseline survey involved 1480 women who delivered before the trial, and the follow-up survey involved 1490 women who received maternal and newborn care during the trial.
The intervention package included training healthcare providers, using an educational and recording tool named ‘continuum-of-care card’, providing the first postnatal care (PNC) by retaining women and newborns at healthcare facility or home visit by healthcare providers.
Adequate contacts were defined as at least four contacts during pregnancy, delivery with assistance of skilled healthcare providers at a healthcare facility and three timely contacts within 6 weeks postpartum. High-quality care was defined as receiving 6 care items for antenatal care (ANC), 3 for peripartum care (PPC) and 14 for PNC.
The difference-in-difference method was used to assess the effects of the intervention on the study outcome. The percentage of adequate contacts with high-quality care in the intervention group in the follow-up survey and the adjusted difference-in-difference estimators were 12.6% and 2.2 (p=0.61) at ANC, 31.5% and 1.9 (p=0.73) at PPC and 33.7% and 12.3 (p=0.13) at PNC in the intention-to-treat design, whereas 13.0% and 2.8 (p=0.54) at ANC, 34.2% and 2.7 (p=0.66) at PPC and 38.1% and 18.1 (p=0.02) at PNC in the per-protocol design that assigned the study sample by possession of the continuum-of-care card.
The interventions improved contacts with healthcare providers and quality of care during PNC. However, having adequate contact did not guarantee high-quality care. Maternal and newborn care in Ghana needs to improve its continuity and quality.