Gender and socio-cultural drivers of pre-eclampsia among women in Mubende District
Kentaro, Grace Maria
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This study sought to examine gender and socio-cultural drivers of pre-eclampsia among women in Mubende district. Pre-eclampsia which is also known as toxemia, is a pregnancy-related hypertensive disorder that occurs usually after 20 weeks of gestation and re-occurs up to 10 days after delivery. I also examined perceptions about pre-eclampsia and the strategies for addressing the effects of pre-eclampsia on maternal health in Mubende District. Mubende district in Central Uganda was purposively selected as the study area due to high prevalence rates of pre-eclampsia cases in the district. A multistage sampling design was used in selecting 196 respondents from three Sub-Counties of Madudu, Bukuya and Bugeza. This cross- sectional study employed both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection. The results of the study reveal that respondents understood pre-eclampsia in different ways basing on its signs and symptoms with majority believing that it is a condition associated with witchcraft, curse especially from women or a sexually transmitted disease. A very small percentage believes that it is a hypertension pregnancy related condition. A big number of respondents believed that pre-eclampsia is supposed to be treated culturally by use of herbal medicine and native doctors. This implies that most people did not seek immediate health care from hospitals when faced with pre-eclampsia. The findings also indicated that control over physical and financial resources and decision making in households especially on where and when to go for maternal health care are mostly undertaken by men(husbands). Women’s level of decision making is minimal due to gender and prohibitive cultural norms and practices coupled with the beliefs that lead to delays in seeking health care hence sometimes leads to death of either the baby or mother. There is need for the government of the republic of Uganda to address the existing gender and socio-cultural factors of pre-eclampsia among women, through empowering women economically; income generating projects to enable them have resources to seek care, health education, community sensitization, and teaching of mothers during antenatal care visits.