Global coverage and scale up of interventions to reduce newborn mortality remains low, though progress has been achieved in improving newborn survival in many low-income settings. An important factor in the success of newborn health interventions, and moving to scale, is appropriate design of community-based programs and strategies for local implementation. We report the results of formative research undertaken to inform the design of a newborn health intervention in Cambodia. Information was gathered on newborn care practices over a period of three months using multiple qualitative methods of data collection in the primary health facility and home setting. Analysis of the data indicated important gaps, both at home and facility level, between recommended newborn care practices and those typical in the study area. The results of this formative research have informed strategies for behavior change and improving referral of sick infants in the subsequent implementation study. Collection and dissemination of data on newborn care practices from settings such as these can contribute to efforts to advance survival, growth and development of newborns for intervention research, and for future newborn health programming.
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