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Kirstie Rendall-Mkosi, MPH, School of Health Systems and Public Health, University of Pretoria, PO Box 667, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa, 27-12-841-3240, firstname.lastname@example.org and Debra J. Jackson, MPH DSc, School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, P.O. Box 16239, Vlaeberg, Cape Town, 8018, South Africa.
Introduction: In some areas of the Western Cape South Africa the low birthweight rate is as high as 27%. Lifestyle risk factors in this population associated with low birthweight (LBW) are poor maternal nutrition, smoking and drinking alcohol. This study aims to design and evaluate a ‘woman-held' health handbook that could be used to record health information and provide essential health education to women. Methods: Action research and qualitative methods were used. This four phase study firstly developed an understanding of the dynamics and factors influencing women's substance use in the Western Cape, especially during pregnancy, using Grounded Theory. The second and third phase involved development and preliminary testing of the handbook. The final phase involved a utilization focused evaluation. Study participants were women on farms, health service workers, and the relevant regional and provincial health officials for the region. Results: Themes from Phase I included issues related to health knowledge, health services, home and work environments, and substance abuse. Feedback on the draft handbook from women on farms and experts in the field and a sample of the handbook will be presented. Phase IV showed 78% of women read all or part of the book, and there was a reduction in both smoking (44% vs 59%) and drinking alcohol (6% vs 29%) in those women who used the book during pregnancy. Conclusion: The handbook has potential as an educational and counselling tool, especially in pregnancy, and would assist in better continuity of care and identification of high risk women.
Keywords: Health Education Strategies, Maternal Health
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Any relevant financial relationships? No
The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA