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Open Access Research article

Child Health Partnerships: a review of program characteristics, outcomes and their relationship

Kapila Jayaratne12*, Margaret Kelaher1 and David Dunt1

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Health Policy, Programs and Economics, School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne, Level 4, 207 Bouverie Street, Carlton, Victoria 3010, Australia

2 Child Health Unit, Family Health Bureau, Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition, 231 De Saram Place, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka

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BMC Health Services Research 2010, 10:172  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-172

Published: 17 June 2010



Novel approaches are increasingly employed to address the social determinants of health of children world-wide. Such approaches have included complex social programs involving multiple stakeholders from different sectors jointly working together (hereafter Child Health Partnerships). Previous reviews have questioned whether these programs have led to significant improvements in child health and related outcomes. We aim to provide definitive answers to this question as well as identifying the characteristics of successful partnerships.


A comprehensive literature search identified 11 major Child Health Partnerships in four comparable developed countries. A critical review is focused on various aspects of these including their target groups, program mechanics and outcomes.

Results and Conclusions

There was evidence of success in several major areas from the formation of effective joint operations of partners in different partnership models to improvement in both child wellbeing and parenting. There is emerging evidence that Child Health Partnerships are cost-effective. Population characteristics and local contexts need to be taken into account in the introduction and implementation of these programs.