Maastricht University, Netherlands
Kim Jonas has completed her undergraduate studies and MA from the University of the Western Cape (SA). She is currently a PhD student at Maastricht University (NL), at the School for Public Health and Primary Care (CAPHRI). She is an enthusiastic young researcher who recently published her very first authored paper from her masters’ thesis and a few co-authored papers with colleagues from the HSRC. Her research interests are centered on adolescent health, maternal and child healthcare, and healthcare systems. She is also interested on the use e-Health technologies for improving access to and utilization of maternal and child healthcare services.
To provide insight into the behaviour and related determinants among healthcare professionals’ towards women and teenagers seeking maternal and child healthcare (MCH) services in South Africa (SA), a cross-sectional, health facility based study was conducted. A self-administered questionnaire was used to examine healthcare professionals’ knowledge, attitudes, social norms, and self-efficacy related to the provision of adequate and sufficient MCH services in SA. Descriptive statistics and Pearson’s correlation analysis were used to analyze the data, to ascertain the associations between the behavioural measures. Of the 193 respondents, 183 (94.8%) were female. Overall the nurses and midwives had moderately high knowledge of MHC practices with 55.3% achieving mean scores of 17 – 18 (highest scores); and 38.8% achieving mean scores of 13 – 16. However, a proportion of nurses and midwives (25.6%) had low scores for family planning knowledge. There was a significant positive correlation between subjective norms and self-efficacy (r = 0.29), and between self-efficacy and intention (r = 0.59) to provide a desirable behavior in MCH services. The deficits in knowledge of some registered midwives and nurses is a cause for concern. Increased knowledge levels and behavior change methods are needed to influence determinants most strongly related to MHC practices, and thus improve the quality of care mothers and infants receive, and therefore reduce maternal and infant mortality and morbitidy rates in SA. Provision of quality emergency obstetric care, and behaviour of healthcare professionals in MCH services are of paramount importance in averting maternal and child morbidity and mortality rates.