An assessment of maternal knowledge about Health in Pregnancy and Early Childhood in Rural Tanzania: Case Study of Lindi Rural District - Tanzania.

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Kampala International University, College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
This research was conducted to describe maternal knowledge about health in pregnancy and early childhood in rural Tanzania. It was also discovered that perceptions of risk during pregnancy shape behaviours in pregnancy and at childbirth, and influence pregnancy outcomes as well as neonatal health and survival. Identifying local understandings of obstetric risk is a key strategy for the development of appropriate behaviour change communication strategies to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes at the community level. I qualitatively analyzed the primary data from the field including interviews and focus group discussion I conducted with pregnant women, women with young children, community respected persons (CORPs) professional health workers from local communities and traditional birth attendants in Lindi rural district of southern Tanzania to explain local understandings of risks women face during pregnancy and behaviours traditionally practiced to minimize these risks. Women's understandings of biomedical risk corresponded closely to common danger signs; however, social and spiritual factors were also perceived to place women and their developing babies at risk, and elaborate strategies were reportedly employed to preserve social harmony and protect against harm from malicious spirits or individuals. Using these findings, I identified opportunities for behaviour change communication strategies to improve maternal and neonatal health outcomes. Qualitative research such as this supports the development of behaviour change messages that link communities and health facilities to improve prenatal and obstetric care. Generally, I would recommend that different bodies should combine efforts in order to make concrete policies, and any other effort needed to eliminate the problem of maternal and newborns mortality.
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Social Sciences in Partial Fulfillment for the Award of a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work and Social Administration of Kampala International University.
Early Childhood, Pregnancy, Maternal Knowledge, Assessment, Rural Areas, Lindi Rural District - Tanzania