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Review of Literature

The "Home Visitor" programme in maternal and child health has its roots in the 19th century when public health nurses and social workers visited homes of poor urban women to provide health services. Kempe (1976) writing on approaches to preventing child abuse, advocated the use of health workers to assure the right of every child to comprehensive health care. He referred to the existing European system of home visitors for all newborns and suggested that every pregnant woman has a para professional worker to work with the family from pregnancy till school age of the child. A "Home Visitor" in maternal and child health terms, is a person, professional or para professional, volunteer or paid who provides a wide variety of support services in the home eg. social, health related, educational etc., which are targeted to an individual child, an entire family unit or the ecosystem.

In the 1980's, para professional home visitor programmes offered opportunities for expanding pediatric services to mothers, children and families. These services include social support (which is difficult to provide in most clinical settings), liaison between the health care personnel, the family and community and involvement with direct socio economic issues affecting the well being of child and his family.

The importance of home visitor programmes

Chapman and colleagues (1990) listed a number of factors in the last decade which called for collaboration between different professionals working with children and families:

1. Child health with its current developmental perspective is synonymous with "maternal-child health".

2. The concept of morbidity encompasses psychological, emotional, social, behavioral and environmental factors in child health.

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