A cross-sectional study on mother’s knowledge, feeding practices, childcare and malnutrition in Sumbawanga, Tanzania
Background: Malnutrition is the major cause linked to many diseases and is a burden recognized in many developing countries including Tanzania. A child’s intake can have a significant impact on health, growth, and development. Understanding mothers’ knowledge of children’s intake can play a vital role in improving their nutritional status. This study aimed at exploring mothers’ knowledge, feeding practices, childcare, and malnutrition among children aged between six months and five years.
Methods: A hospital-based cross-sectional study was undertaken in Sumbawanga municipal, from September to December 2020. Data was collected from interviews filled in structured questionnaires among mothers of children aged six months to less than five years. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 20 based on a total of 190 study participants. Descriptive statistics and c2 tests were used to assess the significance levels of associated variables.
Results: The total sample of children included in the study was 190, therefore 190 mothers. Out of the 190 mothers, 65 (34.21%) had not attended formal education, 53 (27.89%) had a primary education level, 42 (22.11%) had a secondary education level and 30 (15.79%) has a college or university education level. The majority of mothers, 145 (51.58%) were single, divorced or widowed whereas the majority of mothers, 51.58% (98) were not employed. Marital status and education level had an impact on child’s care and malnutrition reported cases (c2 = 15.06, p < 0.0001). Food availability in families of many children with more individuals living together showed to be significantly associated with incidences related to malnutrition (χ2 = 25.76, p < 0.001). Mother’s feeding practices of less than two times a day showed to be significantly associated with and incidences related to malnutrition (χ2 = 23.54, p < 0.0001). Mother’s good maternal care showed to be significantly associated with attendance to ANC services and husband/ partner's financial support (χ2 = 43.22, p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Current mothers’ knowledge and practices about malnutrition and incidences of nutritional related-illness in children in Sumbawanga municipal calls for urgent health education to improve children’s health status.