A study to determine the factors associated with underutilisation of postnatal care services among postpartum women in mazabuka district.

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Jacobs, Choolwe Nkwemu
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The postpartum period constitutes a critical period for the mother and her newborn, during which physiological and emotional adjustments take place. Postnatal period covers the six weeks after delivery. During this period care is provided to the mother and her newborn so as to promote health behaviors and identify and manage complications, if and when they arise. Immediate postpartum care can detect and manage problems arising after delivery, such as haemorrhage, infections and problems with breastfeeding. The highest maternal and infant morbidity and mortality occur during the post maternal period. It is assumed that this is due to underutilization of postnatal care services hence this study is being undertaken. In its effort to reduce this problem of underutilization of PNC services, the MOH has put in place several activities aimed at improving the Reproductive health Programme so as to reduce the maternal mortality rate in line with the Millennium Development Goals. It has, however, been noted that postnatal care is being underutilized in Mazabuka district. The aim of this study was to determine the factors associated with underutilization of postnatal services among puerperal women in Mazabuka district. The literature review of relevant studies was done on a global, regional and on a national level. The studies show that poor socio economic status, inadequate health centers and ineffective interventions, traditional practices, lack of women empowerment, geographical disadvantage (the hard to reach areas) inadequate knowledge are some of the factors influencing low utilization of PNC services. The study was conducted at Mazabuka District Hospital and Research Urban clinic. It was a non-experimental descriptive, explorative and non-interventional study. The respondents were chosen using simple random sampling technique. Data was collected from 50 mothers (25 from each health facility) who attended under five children's clinic. A structured interview schedule was developed for data collection from the mothers and data analysis was done manually using a data master sheet and a scientific calculator. The findings from this study revealed that several factors are associated with the underutilization of the postnatal care services. Some of these factors include inadequate information education and communication, some traditional beliefs and cultural practices of the mothers and poor attitude of nurses towards the health services. However, there are several other factors which influence the women's ability to utilize postnatal care services, these are the age of the women, the parity, educational level and the socio economic status.
Postnatal care - mazabuka district. , Puerperium - mazabuka district. , Maternal health services - mazabuka district.