Podcasts: Meet Our Researchers

Dorothy Oluoch

Dorothy Oluoch is a researcher working at the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme. Her main area of research involves documenting the roles and perceptions of mothers of hospitalized sick newborns with an aim of learning how they cope with the stress of caring for a sick newborn and how their experiences and voices could be formally engaged into care provision strategies.

The KEMRI-Wellcome Trust research programme

The KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme is a major Wellcome Trust’s overseas programmes. Its work has had a major influence on national and international health policy. Research spans a wide variety of topics and disciplines including research on malaria and bacterial and viral infectious diseases, work to map disease risk and intervention coverage and work on research ethics and health systems strengthening.

Dorothy Oluoch: Roles and perceptions of mothers of hospitalized sick newborns

My name is Dorothy Oluoch, I have a basic undergraduate degree in anthropology and a masters degree in medical anthropology.

My current research is looking at the experiences of mothers with sick newborns in Nairobi City County, basically documenting their stories, their challenges, and some of the things that they go through on a day to day basis when the children or neonates are admitted to hospitals in Nairobi. It’s a qualitative study and we employ different methodologies. I conduct nine participant observations within the newborn units; I conduct in-depth interviews when they are being discharged and also do home follow-up visits to their homes about two to three weeks after they’re discharged.

This is important because not so much has been published in relation to experiences with mothers who have premature babies. A lot of the published work is from high-income countries, and therefore this work is filling in that gap. Because I’m using different methodologies, I think it’s also having a major impact in methodologies and how these experiences can be collected, particularly in low and middle income settings.

The ultimate contribution of this work would be to policy, in terms of training of health workers because some of the things that the mothers go through are linked to relationships within the newborn units, how nurses communicate with the mothers. For the nurses to actually get to hear the stories of the mothers might be input to change things that might not cost much and might be cost effective. The second thing is the place upon the networks that this mothers developed over time, during the time of admission and even post-discharge can be a learning point and a key resource for some of the mothers with premature or sick babies.