The impact of household decision-making on women’s nutritious food expenditure and maternal health: case of Mbeya Urban District

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Date
2004
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
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Publisher
University of Dar es Salaam
Abstract
This study assessed how decision-making on household resource use can limit women from food choices in the household which is one of the important determinants of maternal health outcomes in Mbeya Urban District. The main research problem to this study was that women’s maternal health status is jeopardized by women’s less empowerment in decision-making in the household, especially on income expenditure. Women access to poor quality food and maternal health care services is due to poor re-allocation of income done by the head of households who also make decision on resources use. Generally, the study aimed at making an assessment on how women are affected by poor decision-making on income expenditure in the household that in turn determine their accessibility to food and maternal health care qualities for maternal health performance. To achieve the desired results, interview methods were used which was supplemented by focus group discussions conducted during field survey in each ward surveyed as well as documentary reviews. Statistical package for social sciences computer package was used as the main tool for data analysis. The findings indicated that high maternal deaths in Mbeya Urban District were due to the presence of maternal health risk factors to pregnant women that were mostly found to be food related. Also, it was revealed that the amount of income one contributed to the household income pool ws one of the important determinants of power to make decision over the income use. Field analysed data indicated that most of the respondents who made a significant contribution to the household income pool from small business activities were strong in decision-making comparing to those who depended on their husbands for survival. However, traditional feeding behaviour based on a particular food preference dominated food choices regardless of income and awareness levels as well as decision-making. Thus, amount of income re-allocated to food was not a determinant of quality of food women accessed in the household rather than food preference. As such, to solve the problem of high maternal health problem in Mbeya Urban District as identified in this study, the household feeding behviour should be improved through raising the level of awareness on the composition of nutritious food which can influence food choices that in turn can improve maternal health performance. To achieve this, maternal health education should involve other household members such as men to make pregnancy and childbirth safe. Also women should be empowered more economically through raising entrepreneurship skills and loaning to increase capital turnover for the more effective decision-making.
Description
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class Mark ( THS EAF HB820. M86)
Keywords
Households, Decision making, Matenal Heaith, Mbeya
Citation
Mwakajonga, T. A (2004) The impact of household decision-making on women’s nutritious food expenditure and maternal health: case of Mbeya Urban District, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam