Traditional Beliefs and Practices towards Infant Care and Asociated Health Impacts: A study in Finoteselam, west Gojjam

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Addis Ababa University


Maintaining sound health and weI/being is the prime concern ojparenting el'erYlI'here. Bllt the 1'(>01 health situation of inionts in Finoteselam is one among the worst in the COlll7tl")'. Morbidity and injury remain high in this age group due to the inappropriate and less qualitv care prol'/ded to in/(lI1t.s', This stU(~V was designed to understand iJ?iunt care beliejs' and practices that have an /1I/jJact on health il1 Finoteselam. Cultural heliej\' and practices associated to feeding, health lIf(magelllent, p,sychosocial care, and hygiene care have an extensive impact on this regard The studl employed qualitative method. It was conducled using an interview data (l.JO lactating mol hers (whose surviving baby aged belween .J I day and 12 month) and 6 volunlary health workers il1 addition 10 focus group results with heterogeneous group of participants (elderly WOlllen, TBAs, herbalists and faith healers) frol11 both urban and rural kebeles of Finoteseloll/. The collected data through interviews and FGDsji'om February 08 to March22 lVas thell/ot/coll}' (//wlv::ed fhe result cl analysis showed Ihat a number of infallt care related beliefs' and practices ajfect injl.lI/t heallh in Finoteselam both in urban and rural kebeles. While SOl1le of them have no known destructive elfect, others are found to be dangerous to health. Ifealth damaging beliejv alld practices include those which restrict exclusive breastfeeding (beliejs' such as breast milk II1suflicienC\', fear ofabdol71inal pain and thirst on babies in feeding sole breastmilk) , behaviors ofleedillg illfants wilh less nutritious food items, beliefs which delay or hasten the timing in the introduction of complementary foods, behaviors that endanger personal, domestic and environmental hvgiene (such as open defecation and urination, absence of water treatmel7l at hOllie, lack o/.fi'equent hand washing and bathing) , customs which result in misconstruction of the caules of infant health prohlems (beliej\' on supernatural and spiritual/orees) and diseases ,specific belief.\· that initiate unfilling or delayed care seeking



A study in Finoteselam, west Gojjam