Title page for ETD etd-08152011-122126

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Ditebo, Gaeboloke Precious
Email phekgo@yahoo.com
URN etd-08152011-122126
Document Title Malnutrition in children : the perceptions of mothers in Botswana
Degree MSW
Department Social Work and Criminology
Advisor Name Title
Dr J Sekudu Co-Supervisor
Dr C L Carbonatto Supervisor
  • malnutrition
  • protein-energy malnutrition
  • marasmus
  • kwashiorkor
  • mothers
  • medical social work
  • geneeskundige maatskaplike werk
  • multi-disciplinary team
  • social work intervention
  • psychosocial implications
  • onderwig
  • multi-dissiplinÍre span
  • underweight
  • maatskaplikewerk-intervensie
  • moeders
  • psigososiale implikasies
  • protein-energie wanvoeding
  • wanvoeding
Date 2011-04-04
Availability restricted
Malnutrition is one of the serious childhood problems that affect children under five (5) years of age, and is common in developing countries Botswana included. The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions of mothers of children diagnosed with malnutrition in Botswana, specifically at Sekgoma Memorial Hospital, Serowe. The said hospital is a district hospital which renders services to Serowe community and the surrounding villages, as such; participants in this study were from Serowe and other surrounding villages like Mabou, Tshimoyapula, Mmashoro and Mogorosi.

Applied research was used as a type of research because it is associated with the researcherís motivation to assist in solving a particular problem facing a particular community. Collective case study was used as a research design. The researcher explored the perceptions of mothers regarding child malnutrition; through the use of semi-structured interviews. Twelve (12) mothers of children with malnutrition were interviewed using systematic random sampling method and subsequently data was analysed according to Creswellís model.

Literature study was done and the following aspects were discussed: Child malnutrition in developing countries; child malnutrition in Botswana; description of child malnutrition; causes of child malnutrition; symptoms of child malnutrition; treatment of child malnutrition; prevention of child malnutrition; psychosocial implications of child malnutrition on the patient, family and community and social work intervention (therapy and prevention). Literature was also compared with research findings when analysing data.

The study revealed that mothers had limited knowledge on malnutrition as a condition, the signs and symptoms thereof; causes; prevention and treatment of child malnutrition. This lack of knowledge made mothers to have wrong perceptions about child malnutrition.

It was revealed that mothers did not perceive malnutrition as a serious problem that can result in admission for treatment in a hospital, they expected a different diagnosis. They perceive malnutrition as a secondary diagnosis. The majority of mothers had a Setswana diagnosis for their childrenís condition. Mothers perceived the signs and symptoms of malnutrition as those of Thibamo, Phogwana (fontanel), or Ntsana. They interpret malnutrition as a Setswana ailment that can be treated traditionally.

Factors that were identified to be contributing to malnutrition among children at Sekgoma Memorial Hospital in Serowe were found to be; lack of knowledge about malnutrition, wrong perceptions of malnutrition by mothers, illiteracy and unemployment, and cultural factors like taking a child to a traditional healer instead of a medical health facility.

The study shows that mothersí social functioning is disrupted by their childrenís illness and hospitalization and thus a need for support from the hospital multi-disciplinary team, especially the social worker who is a trained counselor. The social worker should provide ongoing supportive counseling during the process of the childís illness.

© 2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Ditebo, GP 2010, Malnutrition in children : the perceptions of mothers in Botswana, MSW dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-08152011-122126/ >


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