Exploring maternal postnatal newborn care postnatal discharge education in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Barriers, facilitators and opportunities

Midwifery. 2019 Oct;77:137-143. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2019.07.009. Epub 2019 Jul 15.


Background: Previous studies in Tanzania have shown that mothers do not often receive the recommended number of postnatal contacts, which limits their ability to not only have health checks but also to be provided with sufficient and quality postnatal education. Educating mothers while in the hospital is important yet there remains a paucity on the experiences of mothers in a hospital setting related to newborn care education. Therefore, the objective of this study was to explore the experience of newborn care discharge education at a national hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from the perspective of mothers and nurse midwives.

Methods: Using convenience sampling, participants were recruited from Muhimbili National Hospital. Eight mothers who recently gave birth and eight nurse midwives working on the postnatal and labour ward participated. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted in Swahili and transcribed and translated into English. Interviews were analyzed using thematic coding.

Results: Most mothers were multiparous (75%) and averaged 29.6 years of age (SD = 5.1). Nurse midwives had an average of 10 years of experience (SD = 7.5). The primary themes identified included barriers, facilitators, and opportunities related to newborn care discharge education. Barriers included lack of standard postnatal education guidelines; community norms against hospital teaching; gaps in hospital care; and expectations of mothers' previous knowledge. Facilitators identified were that education was already being provided on some relevant newborn care topics; nurse midwives desired to teach; and mothers desired to learn and build on their previous knowledge and confidence. Opportunities to improve included developing standardized guidelines related to postnatal discharge education; training nurses how to engage mothers and families; and engaging mothers through varied learning methods.

Conclusion: While mothers received some education prior to discharge and nurses expressed a desire to teach, challenges remained in receiving sufficient education on all recommended postnatal education topics. Opportunity to improve postnatal education can be addressed through the development of standardized education and engaging mothers through preferred learning methods.

Keywords: Discharge education; Hospitals; Infant; Newborn; Nurse midwives; Postnatal care; Tanzania; Teaching.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Health / standards
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Mothers / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Discharge / standards*
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Postnatal Care / methods
  • Postnatal Care / standards*
  • Pregnancy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Tanzania