Health seeking behaviors and childcare patterns in an informal settlement of Nairobi, Kenya: A cross-sectional study.
Ssewanyana D., Zhang L., Martin M-C., Proulx K., Malti T., Abubakar A., Angwenyi V., Kabue M., Marangu J., Odhiambo R., Njoroge E., Ombech E., Mokaya MM., Obulemire EK., Moran G., Marfo K., Lye S.
Children in urban informal settlements experience high risks for poor health and development. Understanding health seeking behaviors and childcare patterns of caregivers in urban informal settlements is important for devising effective interventions. This study describes household characteristics and aspects of nurturing care among caregivers of children aged 0-2 years in Dagoretti informal settlement, Nairobi-Kenya. In this cross sectional study, data were collected on household socio-demographic characteristics, antenatal care and child delivery practices, infant and young child feeding practices, activities that promote play, learning and school readiness, and on childcare and protection practices. Descriptive statistics of proportions and means were used to summarize the data. The study covers a total of 458 Kenyan and 118 immigrant households. Caregivers from immigrant households, with low education and from the younger age-group (less than 20 years) were vulnerable to sub-optimal caregiving and health seeking practices, including relatively lower rates of age-appropriate breastfeeding and poor dietary diversity. Seventy-five percent of expectant mothers attended less than four antenatal care visits. Households surveyed had limited possession of children's books (2% with three or more books), limited access to play materials (43% had two or more play materials), and low paternal involvement in child stimulation and early learning activities (14%). One-third and half of the children were left with inadequate care and disciplined using both violent and non-violent methods, respectively. Our findings highlight the urgent need for contextually appropriate and integrated interventions anchored in the WHO's nurturing care framework. These interventions can benefit from extensive involvement of caregivers, facility and community-based healthcare workers, policy makers, and other relevant stakeholders.