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An Assessment of a Public Health Initiative of Homeopathy for Primary TeethingFunding The pilot programme is funded by the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, an autonomous body of the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India.
07 June 2018
30 August 2018
20 November 2018 (online)
Background During primary teething, children suffer from running nose, mild fever, diarrhoea and other mild irritations and inflammations. A public health programme, ‘Homoeopathy for the Healthy Child’, was undertaken on a pilot basis focusing on promotion of healthy teething by provision of home-based care through six pre-identified homeopathic medicines for complaints commonly observed during primary teething. This article assesses the feasibility of this programme and reports the impact of this initiative on teething profile in children and episodes of diarrhoea and upper respiratory tract infection (URTI).
Materials and Methods Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) were trained in child care and usage of a kit comprising six medicines, namely Calcarea phosphoricum 6X (CP), Ferrum phosphoricum 3X, Magnesium phosphoricum 6X, Belladonna 30C, Chamomilla 30C and Podophyllum 30C. Calcarea phosphoricum was given regularly to each participating child from 6 months to 1 year of age. Home-based care for diarrhoea, URTI and mild fever was provided by ASHAs using the other five medicines in the kit. Dentition pattern and diarrhoea/URTI episodes were recorded over a period of the next 12 months.
Results Eleven thousand four-hundred and twenty-six children were followed up regularly. Amongst those who enrolled at 6-7 months, a larger proportion of children were approaching expected teething in successive months as compared with children enrolled at 12 months, thus indicating that teething delays, if any, were overcome during this period. Incidence of diarrhoea and URTI showed decrease in the months after enrolment. Children responded favourably to the medicines given by ASHAs at the time of diarrhoea/URTI episodes, and ASHAs expressed satisfaction with the programme.
Conclusion An approach with regular use of CP and home-based care with homeopathy through health workers for common problems in teething children is acceptable to the community and enhances outreach of services to the public at large. Observations in terms of the healthy teething period may be further validated through studies of homeopathy with suitable comparator group.
KeywordsAccredited Social Health Activist - Calcarea phosphoricum - children - dentition - diarrhoea - public health - upper respiratory tract infections
• In a public health programme, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) were trained in child care and usage of a kit comprising six medicines, namely Calcarea phosphoricum 6X (CP), Ferrum phosphoricum 3X, Magnesium phosphoricum 6X, Belladonna 30C, Chamomilla 30C and Podophyllum 30C.
• Dentition pattern in 11,426 children who were given CP regularly in the age group of 6 months to 12 months was found approaching the expected teething in the successive months, indicating that teething lags (delays), if any, were overcome during this period.
• Children responded favourably to the medicines given by the health workers at the time of diarrhoea/upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) episodes, and diarrhoea and URTI incidence showed decrease in the months after enrolment.
• Such a programme based on provision of home-based care with a limited number of homeopathic medicines is feasible and acceptable to the community at large.
RKM is the principal investigator who, along with AK, designed the programme and monitored it at all centres. He was responsible for manpower and resource management, including funding for the project, and ensured regulatory and administrative approvals. AK designed the resource material (ASHA manual, medicine kit) and study formats along with DT and coordinated the meetings and reviews at all centres. AV, SS, AKG, RM, RB, ARS and UKP were nodal officers of assigned blocks, who coordinated with local NHM officials, conducted ASHA trainings, reviews and compiled data from ASHAs within the block. ShwS, MS, RP, US, AKU, ShrS, SP and TN assisted nodal officers in their assigned blocks in review, feedback and data compilation from ASHAs. Data compilation from all centres was done by ShwS and MS. Data management and data analysis were done by DT and AK. RKM, DT and AK drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
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