Evaluation of utilization of preventive services for infants in Israel - Personal and organizational determinants

Hava Palti, Rosa Gofin, Bella Adler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Preventive services for prenatal and child health care were established 85 years ago by Henrietta Szold, president of the Women's Zionist Organization of America. A network of 1200 Mother and Child-Care clinics (known as "Tipat Halav") has developed as a result of this initiative. Preventive services are provided by the Ministry of Health, municipalities and recently, by all four Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO's) in Israel. Objectives: To assess the utilization and satisfaction of preventive health services during infancy. Methods: The sample consisted of Jewish and Arab women who gave birth during March 2000. A total of 667 Jewish and 211 Arab mothers were interviewed after their infants reached the age of 15-19 months. The response rate was 92% and 88% respectively. Results: It was found that 96% of the Jewish women and 100% of the Arab women utilized "Tipat Halav" services. Preventive services were provided mainly by the Ministry of Health and municipalities, while HMO's provided service to 15% of the Jewish infants and 19% of the Arab infants. Nine percent of the infants were not examined by a physician within the framework of the preventive service, but all infants had health supervision by a nurse. Overall, 25% of the Jewish infants and 32% of the Arab infants had 11 or more visits with the nurse. It was observed that mothers with a higher educational level and those with many children began the process of health supervision at a later stage and visited the clinic less frequently. The number of visits to all health services combined, from birth to 15-19 months, was 26 for Jewish and 28 for Arab infants, indicating over-utilization and dependence. However, the performance of hearing and vision tests was inadequate. Referral to orthopedics was 41% for Jewish and 11% for Arab infants. The level of satisfaction with the service was high, with scores mostly above 3.0 out of a maximum of a total of 4.0 points. Conclusions: The preventive services provided by the different agencies do not differ significantly except in the case of private physicians and voluntary organizations in East Jerusalem, which do not comply with the recommended routines. Recommendations: Our recommendations include raising the compliance and performance of screening tests and defining the policy of referral to orthopedic services. Furthermore, the clinics should provide more outreach to high-risk families in order to optimize their utilization of services and compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-188+247
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Israel
  • Preventive services
  • Satisfaction
  • Utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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