University of Cambridge > > Cambridge-Africa Programme > Complications during pregnancy in Uganda: Researching socio-cultural drivers using innovative methods (King's/Cambridge-Africa Seminar)

Complications during pregnancy in Uganda: Researching socio-cultural drivers using innovative methods (King's/Cambridge-Africa Seminar)

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Pauline Essah.

Wine will be served from 17:15...

Every day, nearly 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth across the globe, with more than half of these deaths occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa (WHO, 2015). Socio-cultural factors such as traditional beliefs about pregnancy, play an important role alongside biological/genetic factors and provision of healthcare, in maternal mortality rates. Beliefs, attitudes and norms influence local practices, and whether problematic symptoms are detected and appropriate timely healthcare is sought.

This presentation discusses the method and main findings of a pilot undertaken in 2015 by researchers from the University of Cambridge and Makarere University in Uganda, aimed at understanding the collective beliefs of women in the Central region of Uganda (urban and semi-urban districts) related to complications during and just after pregnancy. The research was funded by King’s College, Smuts Memorial Fund and a Wellcome Trust (grant held by Prof Moffett at the Department of Pathology).

Collaborating with Africa‚Äôs Voices Foundation (a spin-out from Cambridge’s Centre of Governance and Human Rights), and local and national radio stations, we set up a series of interactive radio discussions featuring testimonials of women who had experienced pre-eclampsia. The discussions sparked the interest of diverse audiences who were invited to send their opinions via SMS to a toll-free number. The merits and limitations of combining mobile phones and old media (radio) to reach less accessible populations in the context of health research in Africa will also be discussed. The textual analysis to the SMS revealed that men and women differ in the perception of causes of complications during pregnancy: men focus more on internal causes related to the biology or dispositional traits of women; women tend to attribute problems to the low quality of health professionals and lack of support from their husbands. Understanding the norms and beliefs held by different groups and communities is crucial to shape context-specific health interventions focused on improving the quality of medical and social support for Ugandan women during pregnancy.

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This talk is part of the Cambridge-Africa Programme series.

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