Problems of mothers with malnourished children; a case of maternal and child health hospital, Kumasi

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The malnutrition situation in Ghana is a serious problem among pre-school children. About 3 out of every 10 young children are undernourished. Nearly 2 out of every 10 babies born dies before their 5th birthday. Under nutrition is an important cause of death. (Nutrition Unit-MOH, Nutrition facts for Ghanaian families. 1995) Mothers of malnourished children have an enormous burden with caring for their malnourished children. Most of these mothers are also single mothers and the poor socio-economic status of these mothers’ results in low patronage of Child Welfare Clinics for growth assessment of their children hence their children • become malnourished. The Maternal and Child Health Hospital although provides Maternal and Child care, much emphasis is placed on the care and management of the malnourished children than the enormous burden of childhood malnutrition on mothers of such children. Against this background, the goal of the study was to assess the numerous problems that these mothers encounter and suggest possible solutions to address such problems. The study was a cross-sectional descriptive type with a sample size of 50 and facilitated by review of primary and secondary data, structured interview guide. The findings indicated that most of these mothers of the malnourished children are single, uneducated teenage mothers with a poor socio-economic status who have an enormous responsibility of taking care of their malnourished children alone with little or no assistance from the fathers of these children. One major key finding was that the environmental conditions at the hospital were also not favourable for these mothers. There were no beds for the mothers and they had to sleep on mats, on the floor or on chairs. Secondly, the mothers complained bitterly that they were not given food and they have to go outside the hospital to buy food for themselves. Likewise they also had little or no knowledge about the causes, symptoms and preventive measures of malnutrition. The study indicated that, health education has to be intensified in these communities within the sub-metropolitan area of Kumasi to create more awareness on the effects of malnutrition. There is the need to provide more appropriate packages like provision of food and beds for mothers whose children are admitted at the hospital.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Community Health, School of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of in Health Services Planning and Management, 2003