‘They say she is bewitched’: A qualitative study of community and health provider perspectives regarding pre-eclampsia and eclampsia in rural Tanzania

Karen Yeates, Sidonie Chard, Alexa Eberle, Alexandra Lucchese, Melinda Chelva, Sanchit Kaushal, Zacharia Mtema, Prisca Dominic Marandu, Graeme Smith, Erica Erwin, Anna Nswilla, Robert Philemon Tillya

Abstract

The objective of this qualitative study was to understand community and health provider perspectives regarding pre-eclampsia and eclampsia in rural Tanzania. Key informant interviews and focus group discussions with health workers and community members were conducted in the Geita and Singida districts.  An interview guide, focusing on individual or community-based factors affecting women’s access to reproductive and maternal health services, was developed. Data was collected during December 2017 and May 2018 and analyzed using a thematic approach. Three themes emerged regarding perceptions about pre-eclampsia and eclampsia: 1) insufficient knowledge regarding signs, symptoms and risks, 2) misconceptions regarding the causes, due to beliefs and attitudes, and 3) variable patterns of health-seeking behavior among pregnant women who have signs and symptoms. While health providers had a good understanding about causes and management of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, a much larger proportion of community members held misconceptions regarding the causes and recommended management. Community-based educational programs to improve community knowledge about the causes, risks and requirement of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia by trained health providers has the potential to improve maternal outcomesin rural Tanzania. (Afr J Reprod Health 2021; 25[3s]: 92-104).

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