Background and Objectives: Children are one of the most vulnerable groups of society. Any qualitative and quantitative problem in offering health services to them is a main health and social problem. Cooperative health centers for the first time in Iran were established in East Azerbaijan as a proper strategy for solving health problems and limitations of expansion of government health centers. This study was conducted to evaluate their quality of services to children under one year old in comparison with governmental health centers.
Methods: This descriptive and cross-sectional study was done on 7 cooperative health centers and 14 neighboring government health centers selected by convenience method. Data were collected by filling checklists obtained from observation of services offered to these children by healthcare personnel as well as studying the children's health records. Descriptive (absolute and percent frequency distribution, mean and standard deviation) and inferential (independent samples t-test) statistics were used for analyzing the data.
Results: The findings showed that the quality of health care for children under one was good (85.71%) in cooperative centers and moderate (78.57%) in government health centers and their statistical difference was significant (P=0.002). In terms of services about growth monitoring of child, nutrition of infant and mothers' education, cooperative health centers had better practice compared to government health centers (P= 0.001, 0.007and 0.023respectively). Regarding the equipment both centers had good facilities (85.71%) and there was no statistically significant difference between them (P= 0.912).
Conclusion: The results showed that, in most cases, the quality of health care given to children under one was good in cooperative health centers and moderate in government centers. This optimum performance of cooperative centers can encourage health care authorities to plan for the expansion of such centers to compensate for the deficiencies of health services especially in children under one year old.