Awareness of Danger Signs during Pregnancy and Post-Delivery Period among Women of Reproductive Age in Unguja Island, Zanzibar: A Qualitative Study

Rukia R. Bakar, Blandina T. Mmbaga, Birgitte B. Nielsen, Rachel N. Manongi

Abstract

Zanzibar is part of the United Republic of Tanzania with high levels of maternal mortality due to obstetric complications. Women's awareness on obstetric danger signs and early seeking of medical care is the first intervention in reduction of maternal deaths. This study explored awareness of danger signs among women of reproductive age in Unguja Island, Zanzibar. A community-based qualitative study using focus group discussions among women of reproductive age was conducted to explore awareness of danger signs between March and April 2016. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis. The study found that women were aware of danger signs during pregnancy but not during the post-delivery period. The mentioned danger signs during pregnancy included vaginal bleeding, fits, swelling of the legs and leaking of vagina fluid. Some women still believed that danger signs during pregnancy and post-delivery period were due to witchcraft leading to consultations with traditional healers and hence delays in seeking skilled medical care. In this context of misconceptions and cultural beliefs there should be investment in health education on danger signs to the community in general with involvement of traditional birth attendants and traditional healers who might play a role in advising and referring women with danger signs to the health facilities for care. (Afr J Reprod Health 2019; 23[1]: 27-36).

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