A study to determine parents' knowledge and practices towards malnutrition among under five children in mbala urban district.

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Kwesha, Winfridah K.
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The study was under taken in Mbala urban district in three health institutions, namely Mbala General "Hospital Children's - ward, Tulemane Clinic, and Urban Clinic. Mbala District has been experiencing a steady increase of number of children with malnutrition from 1997 to 1999 (643 to 798.1). One wonders whether there is a relationship between the high number of children with malnutrition and parents' knowledge and practices. It is against this background that the study was designed to assess parents' knowledge and practices toward malnutrition among the under five children. A sample size of 60 respondents was selected for the study. The study had the following specific objectives; to assess the knowledge parents have about child nutrition, to identify the types of food parents give their under five children and weaning methods, identify whether cultural beliefs, practices and taboos are associated with malnutrition, to identify any other factors (other than the ones mentioned above) that contribute to development of malnutrition and to make recommendations to health providers at the health facilities and parties concerned on how to effectively improve nutritional status of children under five years in Mbala District. The data was collected by use of a structured interview schedule from 21st July to 30th September 2001. A pilot study was conducted in the first week of the study to test the data collection tool, which was a questionnaire. After analysis of data from the pilot study, necessary changes were made by modifying some questions. Data collected was analysed manually and cross tabulated with the help of a calculator. The study findings revealed that 63.3% of the respondents had moderate knowledge on malnutrition. This was attributed to low level of education in rural areas. The results revealed that only 10% of the respondents had high knowledge on signs and symptoms of malnutrition.
Malnutrition in children --Zambia. , Malnutrition in children --Social aspects --Zambia.