Model for Service Delivery for Developmental Disorders in Low-Income Countries.
As in many low-income countries, the treatment gap for developmental disorders in rural Pakistan is near 100%. We integrated social, technological, and business innovations to develop and pilot a potentially sustainable service for children with developmental disorders in 1 rural area. Families with developmental disorders were identified through a mobile phone-based interactive voice response system, and organized into "Family Networks." "Champion" family volunteers were trained in evidence-based interventions. An Avatar-assisted Cascade Training and information system was developed to assist with training, implementation, monitoring, and supervision. In a population of ∼30,000, we successfully established 1 self-sustaining Family Network consisting of 10 trained champion family volunteers working under supervision of specialists, providing intervention to 70 families of children with developmental disorders. Each champion was responsible for training and providing ongoing support to 5 to 7 families from his or her village, and the families supported each other in management of their children. A pre-post evaluation of the program indicated that there was significant improvement in disability and socioemotional difficulties in the child, reduction in stigmatizing experiences, and greater family empowerment to seek services and community resources for the child. There was no change in caregivers' well-being. To replicate this service more widely, a social franchise model has been developed whereby the integrated intervention will be "boxed" up and passed on to others to replicate with appropriate support. Such integrated social, technological, and business innovations have the potential to be applied to other areas of health in low-income countries.
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