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Pattern of maternal knowledge and its implications for diarrhoea control in Southern Malawi : multilevel thresholds of change analysis

Masangwi, Salule Joseph and Grimason, Anthony Martin and Morse, Tracy Dawn and Kazembe, Lawrence and Ferguson, Neil and Jabu, George Christopher (2012) Pattern of maternal knowledge and its implications for diarrhoea control in Southern Malawi : multilevel thresholds of change analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 9 (3). pp. 955-969. ISSN 1660-4601

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Abstract

A survey was conducted in Southern Malawi to examine the pattern of mothers’ knowledge on diarrhoea. Diarrhoea morbidity in the district is estimated at 24.4%, statistically higher than the national average at 17%. Using hierarchically built data from a survey, a multilevel threshold of change analysis was used to determine predictors of knowledge about diarrhoeal aetiology, clinical features, and prevention. The results show a strong hierarchical structured pattern in overall maternal knowledge revealing differences between communities. Responsible mothers with primary or secondary school education were more likely to give more correct answers on diarrhoea knowledge than those without any formal education. Responsible mothers from communities without a health surveillance assistant were less likely to give more correct answers. The results show that differences in diarrhoeal knowledge do exist between communities and demonstrate that basic formal education is important in responsible mother’s understanding of diseases. The results also reveal the positive impact health surveillance assistants have in rural communities.