Knowledge about safe motherhood and HIV/AIDS among school pupils in a rural area in Tanzania

Friday, July 23 2010

This study used qualitative and quantitative descriptive methods to assess school pupils’ knowledge of safe motherhood and HIV/AIDS in pregnancy. An anonymous questionnaire was used to assess the knowledge of 135 pupils ranging in age from 9 to 17 years. The pupils were randomly selected from 3 primary schools. Underlying beliefs and attitudes were assessed through focus group interviews with 35 school children. Key informant interviews were conducted with six schoolteachers, two community leaders, and two health staffs.

Results indicated that knowledge about safe motherhood and other related aspects was generally low. While 67% of pupils could not mention the age at which a girl may be able to conceive, 80% reported it is safe for a girl to be married before she reaches 18 years. Many school pupils believed that complications during pregnancy and childbirth are due to non-observance of traditions and taboos during pregnancy. Birth preparedness, important risk factors, danger signs, postpartum care and vertical transmission of HIV/AIDS and its prevention measures were almost unknown to the pupils. For long-term and sustained impact, school children must be provided with appropriate safe motherhood information as early as possible, through innovative school-based interventions.

Read the full study at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2393-7-5.pdf

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