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Table 3 Elements of the women's group and infant feeding and care counselling interventions

From: A cluster randomised controlled trial of the community effectiveness of two interventions in rural Malawi to improve health care and to reduce maternal, newborn and infant mortality

Women's groups Volunteer infant feeding and care counsellors
Specific objectives  
Follow a participatory health education process to improve maternal and perinatal care Make individual home visits to promote exclusive breastfeeding
Elements of the interventions  
The activities of Zonal Facilitators (ZFs) are the key to this intervention. Each facilitator will work within one Zone, covering an average population of 3,000. She will facilitate the activities of women's groups within the Zone as they address the issues of pregnancy, childbirth, newborn and infant health. Each women's group will move through a participatory planning cycle of assessment, sharing experiences, planning, action and reassessment, with the aim of improving essential maternal and newborn care. The activities of Volunteer MaiMwana Counsellors (VMCs) will be the key to this intervention. Three VMCs will work within one Zone, covering an average population of 1,000 each. Each VMC will visit all pregnant mothers in her area 5 times - once before birth and four times after birth - to discuss the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, and to give support and advice on mother and child health. She will also help to identify any breastfeeding problems and refer them to a health facility.