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Introduction: Malnutrition remains a childhood scourge in Sub Saharan Africa, Southern Africa, Zimbabwe and in the Insiza District, in particular. With its rich mineral (gold) deposits, robust animal husbandry agricultural industry, varied ecosystems and tourist attraction sites, the district has great potential support self-sufficiency of its population. However, there is a cause of concern as <5-year-olds malnutrition and stunting remain a threat to their lives. The maternal contributions to malnutrition was investigated to explicate underlying attributes of the condition.
Materials and Methods: A mixed method approach, where both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used to prompt and describe in-depth caregivers’ involvement in elements associated with malnutrition and stunting among the <5-year-olds. The quantitative data collection allowed for the quantification of certain maternal attributes on malnutrition on <5-year-olds. Both probability and purposive sampling were used in the study.
Results: Maternal associated factors were observed to contribute towards malnutrition amongst infants in Insiza District. Majority respondents with malnourished <5-year-olds attended FANC (95%), however, late at 7-9 months (38%), at 4-6 months (37%) while 25% were early at 1-3months of pregnancy. For post-natal care, majority of women (77%) visited the health facility as per the stated dates while most male partners (83%) did not accompany their partners to FANC visits. The majority of children were breastfed (97%) with majority initiating the process within the hour of birth 93.1% and 86% not exclusively breastfed. Knowledge of two breastfeeding benefits was 53% prevalent, 27% knew more than two and 20% knew one. The respondents travelled 5-10 kM (50%), 15% >10 kM and 13% stayed within 2 kM. Most children did not receive immunization (56.7%).
Conclusion: The respondents cited that the healthy facility is too far from the furthest village, religious practices, less milk produced by the mother as reasons on maternal factors which contribute to malnutrition. The community knows benefits of breastfeeding but are not practicing exclusive breastfeeding with complementary feeding within six months of birth due to lack of dietary diversity. Immunization was not practiced by the majority respondents.
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