Factors influencing child care activities of mothers’ with under-five children towards under nutrition prevention in Kabwe district.

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Chilombo, Beatrice Lufunda.
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The University of Zambia
Introduction Under-nutrition is the principal perpetrator for long hospital stay of children under the age of five years in Zambia, with a tremendous impact on both the institutions of care and the family. Poor feeding of infants and young children, especially a lack of optimal breastfeeding and responsive complementary feeding, along with such illnesses as diarrhoea, often exacerbated by helminthes, are major causes of under-nutrition. Studies, have shown that under nutrition is the underlying cause of nearly 3.1 million child deaths each year. Studies, have also shown that more than 170 million children fail to reach their full potential due to poor nutrition and two billion children suffer the effects of nutritional deficiencies. Under-nutrition is estimated to account for a ten percent reduction of lifetime earnings, placing a huge burden on household and national economies. The purpose of this study was to identify factors influencing child care activities of mothers towards preventing under-nutrition. Materials and Methods A quantitative, non-interventional cross sectional design was used in this study. The sample size was 175 mothers. A semi structured questionnaire was used to collect data from respondents. Data was screened for completeness, internal consistency, legibility and any possible errors using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 22.0). Results Mothers had negative attitudes (74%, n=129) and bad cultural beliefs (92.6%, n=162) towards prevention of child under-nutrition. The study further revealed that more than half (55%, n=96) of the study respondents had high level knowledge, while 69% (n= 120) of the study respondents had good nutritional and child-care practices towards prevention of under-nutrition. However, there was no statistical relationship between child care and the following independent variables: knowledge (p-value=0.394), perceptions of mothers (p=0.590), cultural behaviours (p-value=0.570). Nevertheless, after conducting Logistic Regression Analysis adjusted for the independent variables the study revealed that there is a relationship between child care practice/ activities and; Knowledge, perceptions of mothers and cultural behaviours where odds of good practices were 0.816 times more in respondents with positive perceptions regarding malnutrition prevention compared to those with negative perceptions. Conclusion The study revealed that more than half (55%, n=96) of the respondents had high level knowledge, on good nutritional and child-care practices. It further revealed that mothers had negative perceptions (74%, n=129) and bad cultural beliefs (92.6%, n=162) towards prevention of child under-nutrition. The study therefore, recommends that concerted efforts by all concerned personnel, senior management support through intensifying dissemination of information on prevention of child under-nutrition is needed. Issues of staffing, outreach services among others should be enhanced to educate mothers towards curbing the scourge.
Child under-nutrition--Prevention. , Infant nutrition and feeding. , Infants--Care. , Infants--Nutrition.