MOTHERS’ KNOWLEDGE ON THE CAUSES AND PREVENTION OF MALNUTRITION IN INFANTS 1-5 YEARS IN GREAT SOPPO COMMUNITY
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This study entitled<<MOTHERS’ KNOWLEDGE ON THE CAUSES AND PREVENTION OF MALNUTRITION IN INFANTS 1-5 years>> in Great soppo community took place from December 2018 to April 2019. Data was collected using a well-structured questionnaire with both closed and open ended questions with a sample size of 43 mothers. The specific objectives of the study were: to assess mothers’ knowledge on infant malnutrition, to find out if they know the preventive measures of malnutrition in infants, to identify any challenges faced by mothers in the prevention of malnutrition in infants. The results obtained shows that 51% of them had good knowledge on the causes of malnutrition in infants, 95.3% had good knowledge on prevention meanwhile 67% identified that they faced challenges in the prevention. Thus the researcher concluded that majority of mothers had average knowledge on the causes and prevention of malnutrition in infants. However, this does not mean that something cannot be done to improve their knowledge that is why the researcher made the following recommendations: Seminars should be organized at the level of the local community so as to improve the population’s knowledge on malnutrition in infants, mothers should be advice to come for infant welfare clinic with their partners or husbands to listen to health education on nutrition, since they play a great role in nutrition of the house and further research should be done on means of breaking the challenges face by mothers in the prevention of malnutrition in their children.
Malnutrition is one of the major causes of mortality worldwide, especially in children who are still undergoing growth and development. The first two years of life are considered to be the window of opportunity where we can improve the wellbeing of a child (WHO, 2010). Tanya, (2012) defined malnutrition as the condition caused by an improper balance between what an individual eats and what is required to maintain health. Additional findings by Ogunrinade(2014) pointed out that, in most developing countries the standard of living of the people are poor, not only in terms of having less to eat or drink, but also in terms of all year round availability of food in quantity and quality . Environmental contamination (examples: destruction of ecosystems, loss of biodiversity, climate change and the effects of globalization) has contributed to an increasing number of health hazards (Johns et al., 2011). Furthermore, malnutrition will prevent children from reaching their full physical and mental potential (Ngianga et al., 2011) which can have long-lasting impacts on health (Walker, 2010). According to the World Bank(2012) the major underlying causes of nutritional problems include poor maternal and child care practices, lack of awareness and education, family food insecurity, poor intra family food distribution, poor access to good quality health and sanitation services. Hence, the need for the mother who is the direct care giver of the child, to have adequate knowledge on the means to prevent malnutrition in infants; this will contribute to the achievement of the millennium development goal four.
1.2 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Koen et al (2009) defined malnutrition as a state of nutrition in which deficiency or excess of energy, protein and other nutrients causes measurable adverse effects on tissue and body form and function, and clinical outcome.
In the early 1990s, results of the first epidemiological study on malnutrition showed that malnutrition potentiated the effects of infectious diseases on child mortality and population level. The study confirmed that malnutrition has a multiplicative effect on mortality and taking into account the underlying causes of death, the results suggested that malnutrition was an associated cause in about one half of all children death in developing countries( Pelletier et al., 2013). Majority of studies on child nutritional status have described prevalence of malnutrition among under five year children and analyzed socio-economic, demographic and cultural factors associated with child malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa (Pongu et al., 2010). Studies have found a strong association between under nutrition and child mortality (Bhutta et al., 2009).
The London school of hygiene and tropical medicine, (2009) classified malnutrition into two types namely: protein-energy malnutrition resulting from deficiencies in any or all nutrients and micronutrient deficiency diseases result from a deficiency of specific micronutrients. The NHS, (2013) characterized children with malnutrition as to have among many other signs, breathing difficulties, fatigue, tiredness, irritability. Once malnutrition is treated, adequate growth is an indication of health and recovery; even though after recovering from severe malnutrition, children often remain stunted for the rest of their lives (Walker, 2010).
1.3 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The world health organization estimates that malnutrition accounts for 54 % of child mortality worldwide (Walker, 2010). According to a 2011 review, an estimated 178 million children under age 5 are stunted, most of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa (Bhutta et al., 2010). In Cameroon, according to Dorine,2013, UNICEF estimated that 57616 children under the age of five are at risk of severe acute malnutrition in the North and Far North regions of the country, and that, 145000 children under the age of five will have stunted growth. A recent study at Regional hospital Buea in the south west region in Cameroon reported 23.4% of prevalence of malnutrition among children consulted in this hospital (Fon et al., 2014).
Furthermore, according to the Cameroon DHS, (2016) Cameroon’s under-five mortality rate (144 deaths per 1,000 births) indicates that 14 percent of children born in Cameroon will die before their fifth birthday. Another estimate also by the Cameroon DHS, (2016) is that 29% of all deaths that occur in Cameroon before age five are related to malnutrition (severe and moderate malnutrition).The nutrition of children 5 years and younger depends strongly on the nutrition level of their mothers during pregnancy and breastfeeding (Sue, 2012). Those children are future of the society and mothers are guardians of that future (WHO, 2011); thus the need to carry out a research on: mothers’ knowledge on the causes and prevention of malnutrition in infants 1-5 years.
1.4 RESEARCH OBJECTIVE
1.4.1 General objective
To assess mothers’ knowledge on the causes and prevention of malnutrition in infants 1-5 years.
1.4.2 Specific objectives
- To assess mothers knowledge on infant malnutrition.
- To determine their knowledge on the preventive measures of malnutrition in infants.
- To identify the challenges faced by mothers in the prevention of malnutrition in infants.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What knowledge do mothers have on infant malnutrition?
- What is their knowledge on the preventive measures of malnutrition in infants?
- What challenge do they faced in the prevention of malnutrition in infants?
FURTHER READINGS: NURSING PROJECT TOPICS WITH MATERIALS