MATERNAL HEALTH BELIEFS AND PRACTICES IN INFANT HEALTH CARE

Lucilyn Camba Ebuenga

Abstract


Reducing the infant and maternal mortality and morbidity rates of the country through education is of primordial concern. Using the descriptive survey method, this study aimed to determine the health beliefs and practices of mothers on infant feeding, hygiene and care of sick infant; determine conformance to Essential Newborn Care protocols; and identify implications of health beliefs and practices on the health of infant. Data were gathered through questionnaire-checklist from sixty-eight (68) women with children 0-1 year old residing in Arandurugan Village Guinobatan, Albay. The beliefs and practices of mothers were varied. The mothers were found to strongly believe in breastfeeding while some believed in herbolarios, using of guava/santol leaves in bathing after an illness, breastfeeding while hungry as cause of ill health, applying chewed leaves/saliva on the baby’s abdomen as treatment for colic, and wearing amulet or religious articles to ward off evil spirits. Additionally, the mothers always practiced breastfeeding and often practiced applying alcohol on the umbilical cord, bathing with warm water while covering the umbilical cord with dressing, and frequently practiced applying baby oil on scalp/body, cutting hair only when child reaches one year old, and keeping windows/ doors closed while bathing. In caring for sick infants, mothers consulted doctor or midwife, and sometimes gave medications not prescribed by doctors. The mothers’ belief and practices particularly on infant feeding is in conformance with the Essential Newborn Care (ENC) protocol utilizing the BEmONC approach. However, there is a strong need to educate the mothers particularly on hygiene and care of sick infant.

Keywords: maternal health beliefs, health practices, infant health care


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Bicol University
Research and Development Center
Legazpi City