Parent-held child health record (PHCHR), a public health intervention for promoting access to preventive health services, have been in use in many developed and developing countries. This review aimed to evaluate the use of the records toward promoting child health/development. We searched PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar to identify relevant articles, of which 32 studies met the inclusion criteria. Due to considerable heterogeneity, findings were narratively synthesised. Outcomes with sufficient data were meta-analysed using a random-effects model. Odds Ratio (OR) was used to compute the pooled effect sizes at 95% confidence interval (CI). The pooled effect of the PHCHR on the utilisation of child/maternal healthcare was not statistically significant (OR = 1.31, 95% CI 0.92-1.88). However, parents who use the record in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) were approximately twice as likely to adhere to child vaccinations (OR = 1.93, 95% CI 1.01-3.70), utilise antenatal care (OR = 1.60, 95% CI 1.23-2.08), and better breastfeeding practice (OR = 2.82, 95%CI 1.02-7.82). Many parents (average-72%) perceived the PHCHR as useful/important and majority (average-84%) took it to child clinics. Health visitors and nurses/midwives were more likely to use the record than hospital doctors. It is concluded that parents generally valued the PHCHR, but its effect on child health-related outcomes have only been demonstrated in LMIC.
- All age groups