Newborn care: the effect of a traditional illness, asram, in Ghana
Source: Annals of Tropical Paediatrics: International Child Health, Volume 30, Number 4, December 2010 , pp. 321-328(8)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:Aims: To explore the role of a traditional illness of the newborn, asram, in care-seeking in rural Ghana.
Methods: Data are from formative research into newborn care which included collecting qualitative data from 14 villages in Brong Ahafo region of Ghana through 25 birth narratives, 30 in-depth interviews and two focus groups with recently delivered/pregnant women, 20 in-depth interviews and six focus groups with birth attendants/grandmothers, 12 in-depth interviews and two focus groups with husbands, and six in-depth interviews with asram healers.
Results: The study confirmed that asram is characterised by symptoms which include green/black veins, a big head and the newborn growing lean. However, a complex classification of 14 types of asram covering a wide array of symptoms was identified. Asram was perceived as a common illness which cannot be treated at health facilities and to which many danger signs in the newborn are attributed, and thus it affects care-seeking. Asram treatment includes frequent cold herbal baths and air-drying; however, oral treatments and preventive bathing are also used. Any modification of asram treatment was reported to require the sanction of a healer.
Conclusion: Understanding traditional illnesses as a potential barrier to newborn care-seeking is essential for designing care-seeking interventions. An asram diagnosis can prevent sick newborns being taken to health facilities and traditional treatment exposes them to the risk of hypothermia.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Kintampo Health Research Centre, Kintampo, Ghana 2: Tema General Hospital, Tema, Ghana 3: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK 4: Centre for International Health & Development, Institute of Child Health, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date: 2010-12-01
- In 2012 Annals of Tropical Paediatrics changed its name to Paediatrics and International Child Health to reflect changes and developments in the subject area. View the issues of Paediatrics and International Child Health available online.
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