'Know-Can' gap: gap between knowledge and skills related to childhood diarrhoea and pneumonia

3 November, 2020

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CITATION: 'Know-Can' gap: gap between knowledge and skills related to childhood diarrhoea and pneumonia among frontline workers in rural Uttar Pradesh, India. Trop Med Int Health. 2020 Apr;25(4):454-466. doi: 10.1111/tmi.13365. Epub 2020 Jan 18.

ABSTRACT (also available in French):

Objective: In India, frontline workers (FLWs) - public accredited social health activists (ASHAs) and private rural medical providers (RMPs) - are important for early detection and treatment of childhood diarrhoea and pneumonia. This cross-sectional study aims to measure knowledge and skills, and the gap between the two ('know-can' gap), regarding assessment of childhood diarrhoea with dehydration and pneumonia among FLWs, and to explore factors associated with them.

Methods: We surveyed 473 ASHAs and 447 RMPs in six districts of Uttar Pradesh. We assessed knowledge and skills using face-to-face interviews and video vignettes, respectively, about key signs of both conditions. The 'know-can' gap corresponds to absent skills among FLWs with correct knowledge. We used logistic regression to identify the correlates of knowledge and skills.

Results: FLWs' correct knowledge ranged from 23% to 48% for dehydration signs and 27% to 37% for pneumonia signs. Their skills ranged from 3% to 42% for dehydration and 3% to 18% for pneumonia. There was a significant 'know-can' gap in all the signs, except 'sunken eyes'. Training and supervisory support was associated with better knowledge and skills for diarrhoea with dehydration, but only better knowledge for pneumonia.

Conclusions: FLWs are crucial to the Indian health system, and high-quality FLW services are necessary for continued progress against under-five deaths. The gap between FLWs' knowledge and skills warrants immediate attention. In particular, our results suggest that knowledge-focused trainings are insufficient for FLWs to convert knowledge into appropriate assessment skills.

Best wishes, Neil

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CHIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is the coordinator of the HIFA campaign (Healthcare Information For All) and assistant moderator of the CHIFA forum. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org