Newborn care: the effect of a traditional illness, asram, in Ghana


Okyere, E; Tawiah-Agyemang, C; Manu, A; Deganus, S; Kirkwood, B; Hill, Z; (2010) Newborn care: the effect of a traditional illness, asram, in Ghana. Annals of tropical paediatrics, 30 (4). pp. 321-328. ISSN 0272-4936 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1179/146532810X12858955921311

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Abstract

Aims: To explore the role of a traditional illness of the newborn, asram, in care-seeking in rural Ghana. Methods: Data are from formative research into newborn care which included collecting qualitative data from 14 villages in Brong Ahafo region of Ghana through 25 birth narratives, 30 in-depth interviews and two focus groups with recently delivered/pregnant women, 20 in-depth interviews and six focus groups with birth attendants/grandmothers, 12 in-depth interviews and two focus groups with husbands, and six in-depth interviews with asram healers. Results: The study confirmed that asram is characterised by symptoms which include green/black veins, a big head and the newborn growing lean. However, a complex classification of 14 types of asram covering a wide array of symptoms was identified. Asram was perceived as a common illness which cannot be treated at health facilities and to which many danger signs in the newborn are attributed, and thus it affects care-seeking. Asram treatment includes frequent cold herbal baths and air-drying; however, oral treatments and preventive bathing are also used. Any modification of asram treatment was reported to require the sanction of a healer. Conclusion: Understanding traditional illnesses as a potential barrier to newborn care-seeking is essential for designing care-seeking interventions. An asram diagnosis can prevent sick newborns being taken to health facilities and traditional treatment exposes them to the risk of hypothermia.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL, NEONATAL-MORTALITY, RURAL GHANA, FORMATIVE, RESEARCH, SEEKING PRACTICES, SYLHET DISTRICT, NORTHERN INDIA, HEALTH, INTERVENTIONS, BANGLADESH
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Nutrition and Public Health Interventions Research (2003-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Research Centre: Centre for Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH)
Maternal and Child Health Intervention Research Group
PubMed ID: 21118627
Web of Science ID: 284687100009
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/1835

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