An appraisal of Communication for Antenatal Care of women in the Lusaka Urban District Health Management Board Clinics
Mumba, Chitalu Kasote
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The study's main objective was to carry out an appraisal of the communication modes and messages used by and for expectant mothers attending antenatal sessions in the Lusaka Urban District Health Management Board (LUDHMB) Clinics. Pregnancy is a time of immense joy for the expectant mother and her family. However, it can also be a time of great danger for the health of both the mother and her unborn child. Studies have revealed that late registration and inconsistent attendance of the antenatal clinic are major problems that lead to late detection of illnesses and conditions that could be prevented or cured if the expectant mother registers for antenatal sessions early and attends consistently. The study was carried out in ten clinics ran by the Lusaka Urban District Health Management Board and in four Organisations that are involved in the policy formulation and provision of antenatal services in Zambia. In each of the ten clinics, the researcher interviewed ten expectant mothers who were attending antenatal sessions there and two nurses . The researcher also interviewed four individuals who were representing the four organizations involved in the policy formulation and service provision. The data was collected using questionnaires and analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Science. The results revealed a number of important things. Training in counseling helps the nursing staff to adequately communicate with the women attending antenatal clinic. Meetings were identified as the most beneficial method of communication between the nursing staff in the clinics and their superiors at the LUDHMB Head quarters. Interpersonal communication was identified as the most commonly used method of communication between the Nurses and the women attending antenatal clinic also between the clinics and the community at large. It was also identified as the method most commonly used by the expectant women to acquire information on antenatal care. The radio was identified as the most commonly used mass medium amongst the expectant women. The Computer was identified as the least used form of mass medium. 82 percent of the expectant women registered for antenatal clinic late. 30 percent of them registered late because they were not sure that they were pregnant until much later. 17 percent of the expectant mothers were illiterate therefore they had no direct access to printed media. The study recommends that an aggressive information campaign to fight the problem be carried out by the Ministry of Health in cooperation with the UNICEF, Christian Children Fund and the Zambia integrated Health Project. The Campaign's main objective must be to create National awareness on the importance of early antenatal registration and consistent attendance.