AN ASSESSMENT OF NURSING MOTHER'S KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDE TOWARDS INFANT HEALTH CARE IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
1.1 Background of the Study
Caring for infants can be challenging, especially for first time mothers. Attitude of mothers towards caring for their infants has a major role in determining the nutritional status of children, maximizing the growth rate of a child at early years of life and has great potential for reducing under-five malnutrition and thereby affecting child mortality rate. According to Sahiu(2017), good nutrition is essential for the growth and development that occurs during an infant’s first year of life. When developing infants are fed the appropriate types and amounts of foods, their health is promoted. Positive and supportive feeding attitudes and techniques demonstrated by the nursing mothers help infants develop healthy attitudes toward foods, themselves, and others. Throughout the first year, many physiological changes occur that allow infants to consume foods of varying composition and texture.
Conceptually, infants are children between the age of 0 months - 12 months. According to Micah (2019), infants can be considered children anywhere from birth to 1 year old. In addition, Kamal (2017) assert that as an infant’s mouth, tongue, and digestive tract mature, the infant shifts from being able to only suckle, swallow, and take in liquid foods, such as breast milk or infant formula, to being able to chew and receive a wide variety of complementary foods. During optimal complementary feeding (CF) program the quantity and quality of food, frequency, and timeliness of feeding, food hygiene, and feeding during or after illness are highly considered . Besides these facts, Aina (2018) stated that, inadequate complementary feeding practice of 6 months to 2 years old children is a major problem. In rural communities, improving the nutrition of infants and young children is a top priority for human development. However, according to the 2020 World Health Organization’s (WHO) report, in low- and middle-income countries under-nutrition was linked to 45 % of deaths among children under 5 years of age. In the same year, 47 million children under 5 years of age are wasted, and 14.3 million are severely wasted and 144 million are stunted . Inappropriate nutrition can also lead to childhood obesity which is an increasing public health problem in many countries. Beyond the benefits that
breastfeeding confers to the mother-child relationship, breastfeeding lowers the incidence of many childhood illnesses, such as middle infections, pneumonia, sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes mellitus, malocclusion, and diarrhea. Also, breastfeeding supports healthy brain development and is associated with higher performance on intelligence tests among children and adolescents . In mothers, breastfeeding has been shown to decrease the frequency of hemorrhage, postpartum depression, breast cancer, ovarian and endometrial cancer, as well as facilitating weight loss.
Furthermore, optimizing nutrition early in life including the 1000 days from conception to 24 months ensures the best possible start in life, with long-term benefits. Especially,since breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and it could prevent 13 % of deaths occurring in children less than 5 years of age globally, while appropriate complementary feeding practices would result in an additional 6 % reduction in under-five mortality.
Also, to improve the infant health and development outcomes in rural communities, improved healthcare practices are crucial . Hence, factors, such as the knowledge and attitude of mothers on infant feeding in this critical time are very important for child health, growth, and development. Therefore, this study was aimed to assess nursing mother's knowledge and attitude towards infant health care in rural communities.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
A nursing mother’s level of education is significantly associated with good knowledge as a educated mother is 3.8 times more likely to know the definition of exclusive breastfeeding than the unschooled mother. The uneducated mother was nearly 5 times more likely to correctly perform exclusive breastfeeding than the educated mother. However, poor child feeding practices, inadequate quantities, and inadequate quality of complementary foods have a severe consequence on health and growth in children less than 2 years of age. Similarly, research has shown that non breastfed infants aged 0–5 months have a 5-fold increased risk of death from pneumonia and a 7-fold increased risk of death from diarrhea, compared with infants who are exclusively breastfed.
Additionally, poor early childhood nutrition can negatively impact a child’s physical and emotional development in both the short and long-term, and limit adult achievement and productivity. It is in the light of these that the study seeks to assess nursing mother's knowledge and attitude towards infant health care in rural communities.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to find out the awareness of sexually transmitted infections among female secondary school students. Specifically, the study will;
1. Assess the nursing mothers’ knowledge of infant healthcare in rural communities.
2. Assess the attitude of nursing mothers towards infant healthcare in rural communities.
3. Ascertain the factors which influences nursing mothers’ knowledge and attitude towards infant healthcare in rural communities.
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions have been prepared for the study:
1. What is the level of nursing mothers’ knowledge of infant healthcare in rural communities?
2. What is the attitude of nursing mothers towards infant healthcare in rural communities?
3. What are the factors influencing nursing mothers’ knowledge and attitude towards infant healthcare in rural communities?
1.5 Significant of the Study
An assessment of nursing mothers’ knowledge and attitude towards infant healthcare in rural communities will be revealed to the government at various levels, medical practitioners, and nursing mothers in this study. It will additionally enlighten mothers of the risk factors in infant malnutrition and exposure to germs. Furthermore, this research will be useful to nurses and mid-wives to disseminate information to a large population regarding the benefits of exclusive breast-feeding and ease their knowledge and attitude towards infant healthcare.
Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to an assessment of nursing mothers’ knowledge and attitude towards infant healthcare in rural communities.
1.6 Scope of the study
The scope of this study is boarded on the assessment of nursing mothers’ knowledge and attitude towards infant healthcare in rural communities. Geographically, the study will be delimited to nursing mothers and nurses in Moro local government, Kwara state, Nigeria.
1.8 Limitation of the study
In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.
In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.
More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Knowledge: a state of being aware that something exist.
Nursing mother:a mother who is breast-feeding her baby.
Healthcare: Efforts made to maintain, restore, or promote someone's physical, mental, or emotional well-being.
Attitude: A settled way of thinking or feeling about something
Infant: children anywhere from birth to 1 year old