Addressing Poverty, Malnutrition and Poor Health for Adolescent Mothers in Rural Eastern Uganda: Recommendations of Local Level Stakeholders
Background: Adolescent mothers in Uganda were a large and highly vulnerable population with inadequate food, economic and social resources thus nutrition and health care unlike their adult counterparts. This could place young mothers at risk of poor wellbeing.
Objective: To identify perceived individual and community-level recommendations and capacity building support young mothers for improved adolescent maternal/child nutrition and health.
Methodology: This qualitative study was conducted in rural Budondo sub-county (Jinja district), Eastern Uganda which is one of the poorest regions. Interviews were conducted with 101 adolescent mothers aged 14-16 years, family members and service providers in the fields of health, education and community administration. The unique application of the social cognitive theory (SCT) took cause, while interview guides were translated into the Lusoga language, guidelines laid down in the Declaration of Helsinki and all procedures were approved by the Office of Research Ethics of the University of Waterloo (ORE # 20708). Pretesting was done in rural Butagaya sub-county
with a few members representatives of the target groups. community members whose perceptions were framed around constructs of the social cognitive theory and thematic analysis was conducted using Atlas-ti (version 7.5.4).
Results: The study identified diverse needs and barriers facing young mothers such as Sensitizing community members to treat them kindly; monitoring health-related services; job creation; paying service providers for additional roles; provision of medical staff houses, operating theatres, medical equipment/materials; using tailored nutrition and health education videos; creating facilities to support food skills training; designating spaces within health facilities for young mothers; and supplying adequate and needs-based drugs.
Conclusion: Capacity building, training of: health personnel to serve young mothers, community workers to counsel parents. instructors in handcraft and food nutrition skills. The social cognitive theory, point to changes in behaviors or practices on the part of individuals, families, community, society and government to better support these very vulnerable group and their babies.
Recommendation: Specialized community-based adolescent maternal / child friendly services built on available strength at individual and environmental level are required. Partnering organizations might help furnish the income generating projects, training support or capital/supplies as recommended by many participants as a capacity-building avenue.
Keywords: Adolescent mother, nutrition, health, , capacity building, social cognitive theory