Florence Muthwii, Margaret Chege, Margret Muiva, Michael Habtu
Introduction: Neonatal sepsis is a major cause of neonatal mortality. The proportion of under-five deaths in the newborn period was found to have increased from 41 per cent (in year 2000) to 46 percent . Statistics indicate that 98% of the global one million deaths as a result of neonatal sepsis occur in Africa. Neonatal sepsis contributes to 28% of neonatal mortality in Kenya.
Study objective: The study sought to identify maternal characteristics of mothers to neonates admitted for management of neonatal sepsis in Kenyatta National Hospital (K.N.H) pediatric wards.
Methodology: This was a mixed-method study where both quantitative cross-sectional and qualitative approaches were used within K.N.H pediatric wards. A total of 107 study participants were enrolled in the study. The study subjects were selected by systematic random sampling method in which every alternate participant was selected Data was obtained from consenting mothers and healthcare workers. The researcher gathered data on maternal factors associated with the development of neonatal sepsis. Three focused group discussions comprising nurses, doctors and clinical officers were conducted.
Data was collected by use of researcher administered semi-structured questionnaire. Qualitative data was audiotaped, transcribed and analyzed into themes. Data was cleaned, entered into computer and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. Level of significance was at < 0.05.
Study results: Among the sampled mothers, (44.9%) were aged between 20-25 years, (78.5%) were married while fifty-two (48.6%) had attained secondary school education. Fifty-two (47.7%) of the mothers were unemployed and most (42.1%) were earning between KShs of 10,000 – 20,000 per month. More than half 60(56.1%) of the mothers were primiparas.
The study revealed maternal factors such as primary level of education, low economic class, being a first-time mother and unemployment were common among mothers to newborns admitted with sepsis.