Addressing social determinants of health by integrating assessment of caregiver-child attachment into community based primary health care in urban Kenya

Academic Article


  • A principle strategic insight of the Final Report for WHO's Commission on Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) is that the nurturant qualities of the environments where children grow up, live, and learn matter the most for their development. A key determinant of early childhood development is the establishment of a secure attachment between a caregiver and child. We report initial field-tests of the integration of caregiverchild attachment assessment by community health workers (CHWs) as a routine component of Primary Health Care (PHC), focusing on households with children under 5 years of age in three slum communities near Nairobi, Kenya. Of the 2,560 children assessed from July-December 2010, 2,391 (90.2%) were assessed as having a secure attachment with a parent or other caregiver, while 259 (9.8%) were assessed as being at risk for having an insecure attachment. Parent workshops were provided as a primary intervention, with re-enforcement of teachings by CHWs on subsequent home visits. Reassessment of attachment by CHWs showed positive changes. Assessment of caregiverchild attachment in the setting of routine home visits by CHWs in a community-based PHC context is feasible and may yield valuable insights into household-level risks, a critical step for understanding and addressing the SDOH. © 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bryant JH; Bryant NH; Williams S; Ndambuki RN; Erwin PC
  • Start Page

  • 3588
  • End Page

  • 3598
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 10