Vitamin A supplementation awareness among mothers of children under five years old at Mbagathi District Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya.
AbstractBackground: Vitamin A deficiency is one of the leading micro-nutrient deficiencies of public health importance in Kenya. Provision of vitamin A supplements every six months is an inexpensive, safe, quick and effective way to improve vitamin A status and save children's lives.
Objectives: To determine vitamin A supplementation awareness, attitudes and beliefs among mothers of children under five years old attending Mbagathi District Hospital.
Design: Cross sectional study.
Setting: Mbagathi District Hospital (MDH) Maternal and Child Health Clinic (MCH) and Paediatric Out Patient Department (POPD).
Participants: Mothers attending MDH MCH and POPD.
Data collection: Both quantitative and qualitative data using questionnaires, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions.
Sampling: A systematic random sampling where every alternate client was recruited and questionnaires administered to make 158 respondents. Key informants were purposively chosen for in-depth interviews and focus group discussions.
Results: Ninety four percent of the respondents reported having heard about vitamin A, major source of information being the health worker (82%). While 58% of the respondents were aware that the recommended schedule for VAS for children is every 6 months, almost half (49%) of respondents were aware vitamin A was given to mothers. Most of the respondents were positive and supportive of VAS. There were no negative beliefs or attitudes mentioned. However, majority (66%) had never discussed about Vitamin A with other mothers / people. Only 18% of the respondents believed VAD was associated with eye problems/blindness. Most mothers did not believe there was a specific consequence of VAD. Majority (64%) of the respondents did not believe there were any possible hindrances to taking their children for VAS.
Conclusion: Mothers were positive and supportive of VAS, major source of information being the health worker but there was lack of information and awareness among both health workers and mothers.