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4th World Congress on Public Health and Nutrition

Berlin, Germany

Abigail Brown

Abigail Brown

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine | UK

Title: Healthcare providers’ knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of screening and treating psychological-ill health during and after pregnancy in Ghana


Biography: Abigail Brown


Background: WHO defines health as a state of “physical, mental and social wellbeing”. In low and middle income settings 15.6% of women experience a mental disorder during pregnancy and 19.8% after pregnancy; almost three times that of women in high income settings. Pregnant women in low resource settings are more susceptible to poor maternal psychological ill-health
due to increased exposure to risk factors such as low socioeconomic status and cultural stigma. The effects of maternal psychological ill-health can be detrimental for both mother and baby, resulting in low birth weight and malnutrition.
Aim: The primary aim of my master’s dissertation research was to qualitatively investigate healthcare providers’ knowledge, attitudes and perceptions on screening and treating maternal mental health during and after pregnancy in Ghana.
Methods: Interviews took place at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra; a large tertiary facility and leading referral centre in Ghana. The Ghanaian Mental Health Act was revised in 2012, but fails to specify guidelines to treat maternal psychological ill-health. 20 key informant interviews and 1 focus group discussion were conducted with healthcare providers of varying experience-including doctors and nurses-to allow for triangulation.
Results: Healthcare providers appreciated the importance of maternal mental wellbeing and how psychological ill-health can affect both mother and baby. Time pressures and cultural attitudes were reasons for why maternal mental health was not regularly assessed.
Conclusion: Enthusiasm for potential screening guidelines was shown but to be truly effective, they should be incorporated into pre-existing antenatal and postnatal care treatment.