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Barriers to Management of Moderate Acute Malnutrition Among Children Aged 6 to 59 Months in Damot Pulassa, Wolaita, South Ethiopia
A Phenomenological Study of Mothers and Health Service Providers

Debritu Nane, Anne Hatløy & Bernt Lindtjørn

Food and Nutrition Bulletin , 2022

Open access

Forskningstema: Global helse

Forskere på Fafo: Anne Hatløy

Management of children with moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) needs to improve to reduce the transition from MAM to severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

This study aimed to assess barriers to management of MAM among children aged 6 to 59 months in Damot Pulassa, Wolaita, South Ethiopia.

This descriptive phenomenological design used 6 focus group discussions with mothers or caregivers of children aged 6 to 59 months and 10 in-depth interviews with health service providers. Data were analyzed using Colaizzi’s descriptive phenomenological method.

Six themes were identified: Possible reasons for MAM; identification of a child with MAM; management services of MAM; maternal-level barriers; service provider-level barrier; and suggestions to improve the service. Shortage of food and money, selling out of self-produced food without having sufficient reserves at home, large household size, shame on having children with malnutrition, occasional house-to-house screening for MAM, family-initiated screening, leaving the management responsibility of children with MAM to the family, no provision of supplementary food, and lack of repeated follow-up visits were the main obstacles for managing MAM.

Maternal-level barriers and service provider-level barriers affect the management of MAM negatively in Damot Pulassa, Wolaita. Children with MAM living in the area ineligible for food supplementation could deteriorate to SAM. The provision of nutrition counseling to the mothers of children with MAM without food supplementation placed children with MAM at increased risk of negative outcomes. Thus, the government should give more attention and facilitation in promoting supplementary food into the existing management of MAM.

Barriers to Management of Moderate Acute Malnutrition Among Children Aged 6 to 59 Months in Damot Pulassa, Wolaita, South Ethiopia