Departmental Bulletin Paper An evaluation of strategies to promote health to tackle food restriction in postpartum women in Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Kit, Ayano  ,  Ohnishi, Mayumi

29pp.59 - 66 , 2017-01 , 長崎大学大学院医歯薬学総合研究科保健学専攻
Purpose : In Lao People’s Democratic Republic( Laos), which is located in the South East Asia, mothers are suffering from malnutrition. One of the causes of maternal malnutrition in Laos is the practice of food restriction in the mother's diet during the postpartum period. The community still believes in restricting the mother’s diet in the postpartum period. The purpose of this study was to identify effective interventions to change mothers’ behaviour relating to adequate diet in order to address maternal malnutrition in Laos. Methods : Three approaches aimed at changing the eating habits of Laotian women in the postpartum period were introduced and evaluated to ascertain whether they are feasible in Laos. These approaches are participatory, health education, and mass media. An option appraisal tool was used to evaluate the technical effectiveness, organisational feasibility, gender-cultural and political feasibility, and financial feasibility and sustainability of the approaches. Results : The results indicated that the participatory approach was effective in improving mothers’ habits when there were sufficient human resources in the community to facilitate the discussion. In terms of health education approach, Laotian mothers showed a positive change in their diet behaviour, when at least one village health volunteer was available to disseminate correct information. The mass media approach also effectively changed the mothers’ dietary habits when the message broadcasted was consistent with the government policy. Conclusions : The results indicate that health education delivered by trained health workers or village health volunteers could be the best approach to changing maternal eating habits in the postpartum period, except in rural villages with ethnic minorities. Additionally, the health education approach can be significant if it is combined with other interventions using mass media.

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