Understanding home-based neonatal care practice in rural southern Tanzania

Mrisho, M; Schellenberg, JA; Mushi, AK; Obrist, B; Mshinda, H; Tanner, M; Schellenberg, D; (2008) Understanding home-based neonatal care practice in rural southern Tanzania. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 102 (7). pp. 669-678. ISSN 0035-9203 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trstmh.2008.04.029

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In order to understand home-based neonatal care practices in rural Tanzania, with the aim of providing a basis for the development of strategies for improving neonatal survival, we conducted a qualitative study in southern Tanzania. In-depth interviews, focus group discussions and case studies were used through a network of female community-based informants in eight villages of Lindi Rural and Tandahimba districts. Data collection took place between March 2005 and April 2007. The results show that although women and families do make efforts to prepare for childbirth, most home births are assisted by unskilled attendants, which contributes to a lack of immediate appropriate care for both mother and baby. The umbilical cord is thought to make the baby vulnerable to witchcraft and great care is taken to shield both mother and baby from bad spirits until the cord stump falls off. Some neonates are denied colostrum, which is perceived as dirty. Behaviour-change communication efforts are needed to improve early newborn care practices.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Global Health and Development
Research Centre: Centre for Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH)
PubMed ID: 18513769
Web of Science ID: 257851200008
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/7281


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