South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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Knowledge and perceptions of nursing staff on the new Road to Health Booklet growth charts in primary healthcare clinics in the Tygerberg subdistrict of the Cape Town metropole district

I Cloete, L Daniels, J Jordaan, C Derbyshire, L Volmink, C Schubl


Objectives: The objectives of the study were to assess the perceptions of nursing staff on the Road to Health Booklet (RTHB), to assess their knowledge of the RTHB growth charts, and to determine whether the level of knowledge was acceptable for successful utilisation of the RTHB growth charts.
Design: A cross-sectional descriptive survey.
Setting: Twelve primary healthcare clinics in the Tygerberg subdistrict.
Subjects: Nursing staff who were going to work with the RTHB on a daily basis.
Outcomes measures: The knowledge and perceptions of the nursing staff on the new RTHB were measured using a self-administered questionnaire.
Results: The study highlighted that the majority of the nursing staff did not possess sufficient knowledge to successfully utilise the RTHB. The mean score percentage for the total 12 knowledge questions was 55%. Less than a third (n = 13) of participants could correctly interpret the cut-off value for mid-upper-arm circumference. Only 38% and 52% correctly knew that -2 standard deviation for weight-for-age and weight-for-length represents underweight and wasting, respectively. Fifty-five per cent could correctly interpret the growth faltering graph. Forty-three per cent of participants felt the change to the RTHB was unnecessary, and 55% thought that mothers or caregivers would not easily understand the RTHB. More than half (n = 22) of the participants said that they had adequate knowledge to work with the RTHB, while the rest reported that they did not.
Conclusion: The RTHB has the potential to decrease the prevalence of malnutrition in children. However, to achieve this, effective usage and understanding of the RTHB is critical.

Keywords: Road to Health booklet, growth monitoring, primary healthcare clinics, knowledge
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