Bulletin of the World Health Organization

From research to practice: the example of antenatal care in Thailand

Pisake Lumbiganon, Narong Winiyakul, Chompilas Chongsomchai, & Kamron Chaisiri

Abstract

The rationale for providing antenatal care is to screen predominantly healthy pregnant women to detect early signs of, or risk factors for, abnormal conditions or diseases and to follow this detection with effective and timely intervention. The recommended antenatal care programme in most developing countries is often the same as the programmes used in developed countries. However, in developing countries there is wide variation in the proportion of women who receive antenatal care. The WHO randomized trial of antenatal care and the WHO systematic review indicated that a model of care that provided fewer antenatal visits could be introduced into clinical practice without causing adverse consequences to the woman or the fetus. This new model of antenatal care is being implemented in Thailand. Action has been required at all levels of the health-care system, from consumers through to health professionals, the Ministry of Public Health and international organizations. The Thai experience is a good example of moving research findings into practice, and it should be replicated elsewhere to effectively manage other health problems.

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