Objective: To know mothers' knowledge and explore their perceptions about newborn danger signs and health care seeking behaviors.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was undertaken in three of the 27 primary health centres of Wardha district with a population of 88187. Out of 1675 expected mothers, 1160 mothers in the area were interviewed by house-to-house visits. Data was entered and analyzed in SPSS 12.0.1. In order to explore mothers' perception of danger signs and actions taken, a triangulation of formative research methods like chapatti diagram and Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was undertaken. The analysis of free list and pile sort data obtained was undertaken using Anthropac 4.98.1/X software.
Results: About 67.2 % mothers knew at least one newborn danger sign. Majority of mothers (87.4%) responded that the sick child should be immediately taken to the doctor but only 41.8% of such sick newborns got treatment either from government hospital (21.8%) or from private hospital (20%) and 46.1% of sick babies received no treatment. As told by mothers, the reasons for not taking actions even in presence of danger signs/symptoms were ignorance of parents, lack of money, faith in supernatural causes, non availability of transport, home remedy, non availability of doctor and absence of responsible person at home. For almost all the danger signs/symptoms supernatural causes were suspected and remedy was sought from traditional faith healer (vaidu) followed by doctor of primary health centre and private doctor.
Conclusion: The present study found gap between mothers' knowledge and their health seeking behavior for sick newborn and explored their deep perceptions, constraints and various traditional treatments. Comprehensive intervention strategies are required to change behavior of caregivers along with improvement in capacity of Government health care services and National Health Programs to ensure newborn survival in rural area.