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An Exploration of the attitudes, beliefs, care practices and experiences of caregivers and healthcare workers in relation to children with disabilities treated for severe acute malnutrition in a nutritional rehabilitation unit in Malawi. MSc project.

Author: Chipo Chalila
Year: 2013
Resource type: Report

Children with disabilities, especially severe physical impairments often suffer from malnutrition or under-nutrition. Little is known about malnutrition and disability related issues in low resource countries in the context of poverty and high prevalence of malnutrition. This study investigates disability issues and practices in a population of children with disabilities admitted for treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in Malawi.

Methods: A qualitative action research design was used to gain an in-depth understanding of experiences of the caregivers of children with disability and malnutrition. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 caregivers of children with disabilities, and 6 healthcare workers who work with children with malnutrition. The interviews were transcribed and data was coded and analysed to identify themes.

Results: Caregivers adapted well to the caring tasks despite huge demands on their time and energy. The burden of care was related to the socio-structural constraints of inadequate support and poverty that was imposed on them. Feeding impairments were common and feeding and nutritional support after discharge to the community was lacking.

Conclusion: The specific disability-related feeding and nutritional issues that affect children with disabilities need to be considered in community-based malnutrition treatment programmes. Training of local health staff and strengthening CBR links is essential.

 

This research was carried out as a final MSc project at University College London, Institute for Global Health. Supervisors: Dr Marko Kerac and Dr Mary Wickenden.

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Chipo Chalila (2013). An Exploration of the attitudes, beliefs, care practices and experiences of caregivers and healthcare workers in relation to children with disabilities treated for severe acute malnutrition in a nutritional rehabilitation unit in Malawi. MSc project.. www.ennonline.net/children-with-disabilities-sam-malawi-msc-project

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