Knowledge, attitudes and practices of lactating mothers related to postnatal care in Obuasi municipality, Ghana.

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The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge, attitudes and practices of lactating mothers related to postnatal care in the Obuasi Municipality. A descriptive cross-sectional study design was used and the study period was July to October, 2007. Simple random and purposive sampling methods were used to select 384 lactating mothers who had babies within the last one year. They were interviewed in August, 2007. The results of the study showed that 88.3% of the mothers had knowledge postnatal care services of which 85.6% actually attended postnatal clinic on one to three times. The attitude of respondents was positive. A total of 352 mothers forming 91% or more felt that postnatal care was essential to their health. With regard to practices of lactating mothers, some women had a bad practice of using enema as a form of treatment on their infants. A total of 236 (63.5%) practiced this. On whether there was any relationship between educational background and the practices of lactating mothers, the use of enema was not found to have any significant relationship with educational background. A Chi-square of 0.09 and a P-value of 0.76, which is greater than 0.05 were obtained. With regard to giving of water to infants during the PNC period, a Chi-square of 5.51 and a P-value of 0.019 were obtained. This shows a significant relationship with educational background. On the giving of colostrums as first food to infants in relation to educational background, a Chi-square of 0.76 and a P-value of 0.382. This does not show a significant relationship. It was recommended among other things that, in order to improve access to postnatal care services further, the government should locate maternal health services close to the communities where the people live. This could be done by training more midwives to serve as the critical link between communities, and post them to the community level. Also, the Ministry of Health has to make a comprehensive plan to overcome information barriers by increasing the women’s knowledge further of the need to go in for postnatal care services. Further, service providers need to acquire attitudes that will enable them to overcome cultural barriers by recognizing the conflict between the biomedical and traditional explanations for health phenomena, especially those related to maternal care including postnatal care.
A Dissertation submitted to School of Graduate Studies in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Public Health Degree (Health Education and Promotion)