What are the perceptions of caregivers regarding the outcome of children discharged from the community-based programme in Jigawa, Nigeria?
Background: Studies have shown that there is an increased burden of severe acute malnutrition, especially in northern Nigeria. Poor infant and child feeding practices, and poverty were among the known factors responsible for this. Through the community management outpatient therapeutic programme, affected children are screened, managed and discharged. However, few studies have been conducted in Nigeria to explore the outcomes at six months post- discharge.
Objective: The study explored the perceptions of caregivers post six months discharge from a community-based programme in Jigawa, northern Nigeria.
Methods: This was a qualitative study involving parents of children who had both good and bad outcomes following a community-based programme in two local government areas of Jigawa. Participants were purposively selected and focus group discussions were conducted, following informed consent. Data was analysed using the thematic framework approach and Nvivo software, version 11.
Results: Poverty, gender and culture shaped the perceptions of outcomes among the caregivers. Mothers with good outcomes had more support from their spouses, especially with permissions granted to seek care. Other factors such as distance to care facility, sociocultural beliefs as well as the practice of seeking alternative care were common to both groups. The counselling received through the programme positively affected the caregivers.
Conclusion: Seasonality associated with food availability was a significant contributor to children's outcome, but with underlying poverty, gender inequalities and cultural practices. Behavioural change communication is vital to improving the outcomes.
Keywords: Perceptions, severe acute malnutrition, caregivers