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Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of premature death and disability in India. Since access to health services is poor in rural India and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) are available throughout India for maternal and child health, a potential solution for improving hypertension control is by utilising this available workforce. We aimed to develop and implement a training package for ASHAs to identify and control hypertension in the community, and evaluate the effectiveness of the training program using the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model.
The training program was part of a cluster randomised feasibility trial of a 3-month intervention to improve hypertension outcomes in South India. Training materials incorporated details on managing hypertension, goal setting, facilitating group meetings, and how to measure blood pressure and weight. The 15 ASHAs attended a five-day training workshop that was delivered using interactive instructional strategies. ASHAs then led community-based education support groups for 3 months. Training was evaluated using Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model for measuring reactions, learning, behaviour and results using tests on knowledge at baseline, post-training and post-intervention, observation of performance during meetings and post-intervention interviews.
The ASHAs’ knowledge of hypertension improved from a mean score of 64% at baseline to 76% post-training and 84% after the 3-month intervention. Research officers, who observed the community meetings, reported that ASHAs delivered the self-management content effectively without additional assistance. The ASHAs reported that the training materials were easy to understand and useful in educating community members.
ASHAs can be trained to lead community-based group educational discussions and support individuals for the management of high blood pressure.
The feasibility trial is registered with the Clinical Trials Registry - India (CTRI) CTRI/2016/02/006678 (25/02/2016).