The effect of material Health literacy on child Health promoting behaviors among Post Natal Mothers in selected Clinics in Lusaka and Mazabuka Districts

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Mumena, Arnold
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This study hypothesized in a correlation design that there was an association between maternal health literacy and child health promoting behaviours. Previous studies which have been large scale surveys have dwelt on education levels and dwelt on self-reported behaviours. They have treated education as a ‘black box’ and treated literacy as a simple ability, either present or absent which could easily be estimated. Both of Maternal health literacy and Child Health promoting behaviours among post-natal mothers in selected clinics in Lusaka and Mazabuka Districts were addressed. The independent variable was maternal health literacy and the dependent variables were complete immunization and weight for age. The sample size was 181 mother and child pairs drawn from the 4 clinics. These were Chilenje and George clinics in Lusaka. The others were Ndeke and Kaleya clinics in Mazabuka. All the data collection instruments were generated from the Children’s clinic card. Two literacy tests were administered; the Child Health Reading Comprehension Test and the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine. A Child Health promoting behaviors questionnaire was also administered. It was translated into the local languages; Cinyanja and Citonga. Correlations were done between maternal literacy tests’ results and immunization and weight for age. Data analysis was by version 20 of the SPSS software. Data was processed was by way of running frequency tables to show the distribution of some variables. Correlations were positive and significant. The results showed that there was a strong association between Maternal Health literacy and Child Health promoting behaviours. The performance by post-natal mothers in the reading test was not as good. Some were reading at the lower primary school level. Others could not just read. Post-natal mothers lacked reading skills and could not understand the information on the Children’s clinic card although their child health promoting behaviours in terms of nutrition and complete immunization of their children were good. The results indicated that maternal literacy skills acquired in schools impact on the way a mother manages the health of her child. Recommendations included the incorporation of health knowledge in the primary school curricula and the introduction of adult education programmes to teach mothers literacy skills. Future research ought to take into account the role of households in promoting Child health.
Post Natal Education , Literacy-Social Aspects , Mothers-Education , Motherhood.