Idealism Meets Realism in a Rural Community: A Focused Group Discussion

Research Article
Vijayashree Shivprasad, Vijaya Naik and N. S. Mahntshetti
Safe motherhood, Feeding practices, focus group discussion, nutrition, urban slum.

Introduction: Safe motherhood and feeding practices includes antenatal registration, hospital baseddeliveries, feeding of the newborn, medications, early detection of warning signs, initiation and durationof breast feeding, exclusive breast feeding etc. These preventive measures go a long way to combatmaternal and child mortality. This fact is less known to people with low income group especially amongthose residing in urban slum. Hence a focus group discussion was carried out to know the insight of safemotherhood as well as feeding practices among people residing in urban slums. Objective: To assess the knowledge and beliefs regarding safe mother hood and feeding practices. Design: Two rounds of focused Group discussion were conducted in 2 randomly selected Urban Health centers of Belgaum. Setting: 2urban health centers located at Rukmini Nagar and Ram Nagar of Belgaum city were selected randomlyusing lottery method. Participants: Total of 30 participants who were representative of the communitywere selected using lottery method. which includes: 4 Lactating Mothers, 5 Pregnant women (2 prime and3 multi gravid), 3 Grandmothers, 1 ANM’s and 2 anganwadi workers residing in that area form each centers. Data collection was done using checklist for focus group discussion. Results: In our focus groupdiscussion, Education played a crucial role, that is educated pregnant women relied on health services, whereas illiterate or primary educated women trusted on 3rd generation. The pregnant women especiallyprime had no knowledge regarding rearing of new born, antenatal registration and safe delivery practicesbut they truly relied on the mothers and in-laws for information. The lactating mothers had goodknowledge regarding importance of medications especially iron and Tetanus immunization along with itthey also knew about complications associated with non compliance of health check up, but they acknowledged that they were not the decision makers for opting family planning services. The majormisconception associated with nutrition during lactation is drinking of inadequate water as it dilutes thebreast milk as well as consumption of hot boiling water. Grandparents believed that food quantity shouldbe same during pregnancy and various foods to be avoided included papaya, meat and cold items. They had a belief of giving prelacteal feeds specially honey and prasadam to the new born as a symbol ofhappiness and divine gift. Furthermore it was interesting to know that television and ICDS (IntegratedChild Development Services) workers had a positive impact. Conclusion: Majority of the grandparentshad poor knowledge regarding the aspects of nutrition during pregnancy and lactation which seriouslyaffects the health of the mother and newborn furthermore it is recommended to use telecommunication forIEC activities as it showed a positive impact.