Effectiveness of behavioural change interventions to influence maternal and child healthcare-seeking behaviour in low and lowermiddle-income countries: A systematic review of literature

Josephine Aikpitanyi, Fosia Yacin, Sandy Tubeuf


While behavioural change interventions are utilized in low- and lower-middle-income countries and may be essential in reducing maternal and child mortality, evidence on the effectiveness of such interventions is lacking. This review provides evidence on the effectiveness of behavioural change interventions designed to improve maternal and child healthcare-seeking behaviour in low- and lower-middle-income countries. We searched three electronic databases (PUBMED, EMBASE, and PsycINFO) for articles published in English and French between January 2013 and December 2022. Studies that evaluated interventions to increase maternal and child healthcare utilization, including antenatal care, skilled birth care, postnatal care, immunization uptake, and medication or referral compliance, were included. We identified and included 17 articles in the review. Overall, 11 studies found significant effects of the behavioural change interventions on the desired healthcare outcomes, 3 found partially significant effects, and 3 did not observe any significant impact. A major gap identified in the literature was the lack of studies reporting the effect of behavioural change interventions on women’s non-cognitive and personality characteristics, as recent evidence suggests the importance of these factors in maternal and child healthcare-seeking behaviour in low-resource settings. This review highlights some intervention areas that show encouraging trends in maternal and child healthcare-seeking behaviours, including social influence, health education, and nudging through text message reminders. (Afr J Reprod Health 2024; 28 [4]: 127-148)

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