Investigating health and nutrition messages given to pregnant women at Bwaila hospital in Lilongwe


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Høgskolen i Akershus

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Master i samfunnsernæring


OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to investigate if health and nutrition messages given to pregnant women at Bwaila hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi were understood and used and if the messages made the women health and nutrition literate. STUDY DESIGN: A cross sectional study where data was collected using two structured questionnaires. Purposive sampling was used to recruit the study participants and these were 60 first time pregnant women (Primigravida) who were in their third trimester and 10 nurses who attend to these women during antenatal sessions. Data on demographics, obstetric situation, antenatal services accessed, nutrition knowledge and practices and information provided and used, were collected from the pregnant women. Non parametric statistical analyses performed on data included Chi square (χ2), Kruskal-Wallis (H), Mann-Whitney (U) and Spearman's rho (�). RESULTS: The findings show that distance to the hospital was a significant factor on when to make the first antenatal visit (p=0.014). Age was related with the number of routine visits (p=0.002), knowledge of the six food groups (p=0.025), knowing dietary sources of iodine (p=0.03) and correlated with making lifestyle changes (p<0.009). Education influenced the pregnant women’s perception of adequacy of time with the nurses during antenatal visits (p=0.002), and it was correlated with searching for other health information (p<0.03). The nurses/midwives faced a number of challenges in their work and were aware of the government policy. The nurses were aware that they had influence on the quality of service that they proved and they suggested training more nurses, giving health talks as ways to lower maternal mortality and that government should build more health facilities. CONCLUSION The pregnant women in this study had limited health and nutrition knowledge either due to the limited content of the information that the nurses provided or due to their own limited health and nutrition literacy skills


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