Factors that Affect Maternal Care Seeking Behaviour and the Choice of Practitioner(s) during Complications: the Case of Mang’anja Tribe in Malawi

Collins O.F. Zamawe


Despite the high prevalence rate of maternal mortality coupled with under-utilisation of health services, little attempt has been made in Malawi to explore and document people’s understanding and beliefs about causes and appropriate treatment of the major complications that are medically believed to be the causes of maternal deaths. Any difference between the insider’s and the biomedical perceptions of what is a serious maternal complication is dangerous because it may delay seeking of lifesaving care. This study was therefore, designed to elicit and explore the local explanatory associated with the major biomedical cause of maternal mortality (haemorrhage) among Mang’anja tribe in Malawi and how these influence care seeking behaviour. Descriptive qualitative research design was adopted and data was collected using Kleinman’s ‘explanatory model interview guide’ from 25 respondents. The findings generally suggest that being aware of maternal danger signs is not enough to provoke a trip to the appropriate healer. Since it is the cause not the effect of the maternal complications that determines care seeking, a shift in approach of health education provided to pregnant women is recommended.

Keywords: Malawi, maternal health, explanatory model, care seeking, haemorrhage

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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