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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


DELGADO-NOGUERA, Mario F. et al. Caregivers and health workers' perceptions of neonatal disease alarm signals in Guapi, Colombia. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2007, vol.9, n.1, pp.39-52. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objectives Exploring caregivers (CG) and health workers' (HW) perceptions of danger signals in the newborn and establishing the type of medical attention they require in rural and urban areas of Guapi on Colombia's Pacific coast. Methods A descriptive design was used combining qualitative and quantitative methods. Three focus groups, three semi-structured interviews and two case-studies were employed. Some signals obtained from these data were used for constructing a structured interview. A survey was carried out with 200 CGs (mothers with newborn, grandmothers, community mothers, housewives) and 40 HWs (general practitioners, health promoters, nursing auxiliaries, traditional medicine healers, midwifes and FAMI-mothers). The data was analysed using MaxQDA 2.0 qualitative data software and ethnographic analysis. Results The first 5 signs of illness (in order of importance) perceived by CGs and HWs were: diarrhoea, dehydration, fever, vomiting and breathing problems. They coincided in their perceptions of the need for emergency consultation for convulsions, tetanus and dehydration. Significant differences were found between HW and CG perceptions regarding "type of consultation" for dehydration, fever, convulsions, breathing problems and tetanus (p<0.05). Cultural illnesses (i.e. the evil eye and ghosts) also emerged. Conclusions CGs and HWs in Guapi were good at recognising danger signals for neonatal illness; however, there were differences regarding the search for attention. The finding of cultural illnesses must be taken into account in newborn attention strategies. This acceptable level of recognition was hindered by the lack of quality medical care services for the newborn encountering health problems.

Keywords : Newborn; patient acceptance of health care; alarm; signs and symptoms; caregiver; health care.

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