Reducing malnutrition in pregnancy through awareness and utilization of moringa oleifera – a nutritional supplement in awka south local government area of Anambra State

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Author: 
Igwilo, Sabina N., Ibeagha, C. J., Nwankwo, Clementina U. and Ajawuihe, Peace, C.
Abstract: 

The poor state of health of mothers and their new born babies in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State due to malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency during pregnancy is at increase rate. Some of which are low foetus productivity, low birth weight, cretinisim, brain damage, and above all are maternal morbidity and perinatal mortality. All these health problems could be resolved or reduced to the lowest minimum using a very cheap and affordable plant known as Moringa oleifera – a nutritional supplement. The study therefore ascertained the extent of awareness and utilization of different parts of Moringa oleifera as a nutritional supplement among pregnant women in the area. two research questions guided the conduct of this study and two hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. Pertinent and related literatures were reviewed. The study adopted descriptive survey research design. The population was 1,199 registered pregnant women from 30th October to 1st December 2014, who were attending antenatal clinic programme in Government Health Facilities (GHF) in the area of study during the period of this study. 269 pregnant women were sampled from six GHF out of thirteen GHF using simple random sampling techniques with balloting without replacement. The researcher was in better position to develop a well structured questionnaire titled ‘Questionnaire on awareness and utilization of different parts Moringa oleifera as a nutritional supplement’ which was used to elicit information from the respondents. Validation of the instrument was ensured through critical examination by three experts. A test retest reliability method was used to determine reliability (r=.89) of the instrument. Descriptive statistics of mean and standard was adopted in answering the research questions. Parametric inferential statistics of one-way ANOVA was used to test the hypothesis, and the findings among others were that the level of awareness of the existence of Moringa oleifera is high but level of awareness of its nutritional value and parts are low. There is low utilization of different parts of Moringa oleifera. Among the recommendations made were that pregnant women should be versatile in reading especially among the elites to uncover their doubts on the nutritional content of different parts of Moringa oleifera. Health educators are also advised to convey the knowledge gotten from this study in their nutritional counseling especially among the nutritional prone groups (example pregnant and lactating women).

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