THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS I-CATCH PROGRAM: IMPROVING CHILDREN'S ACCESS TO COMMUNITY-BASED CARE IN RESOURCE-LIMITED SETTINGS
INTRODUCTION: The great disparities in children's access to health care depend on many factors. Expanding the availability of community-based services through programs designed to decrease these disparities is imperative.
METHODS: In 2006, the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on International Child Health implemented a new program to address these disparities, the International Community Access to Child Health (I-CATCH) program, which offers mentorship in grant preparation and project execution and provides 3-year funding to support project development and implementation. Projects are community-based initiatives that increase children's access to health care or services not otherwise available. Project initiatives will decrease health disparities and will develop sustainable community-based child health programs that may be replicated in other communities.
RESULTS: During the first grant cycle, innovative proposals were received from colleagues in 16 countries. A great variety of opportunities were described to improve children's access to health. Four projects were funded, each of which focused on community education and development: (1) improve children's nutrition and decrease gastrointestinal and respiratory disease (El Salvador); (2) train community health care workers (Pakistan); (3) identify and serve high-risk pregnancies and neonates (Philippines); and (4) promote essential newborn care (Uganda).
CONCLUSIONS: The first grant cycle illuminated the impressive creativity of colleagues, who outlined many opportunities to improve children's access to care through community-based programs with the expectation of decreasing health disparities. The tremendous potential of the I-CATCH program was validated. Although assessment of the long-term impact of the I-CATCH program is needed, the initial year showed great promise.
Submitted by Anna Mandalakas
- Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics