A qualitative assessment of facility readiness and barriers to the facility-based management of childhood severe acute malnutrition in the public healthcare settings in Bangladesh

  • Authors: Fahim SM Islam MR Rasul MG Raihan MJ Ali NM Bulbul MMI Ahmed T.
  • Category: Health Service


Objective: To assess facility readiness and identify barriers to the facility-based management of childhood severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in public healthcare settings. Design: Qualitative methods were applied to assess readiness and identify different perspectives on barriers to the facility-based management of children with SAM. Data collection was done using in-depth interviews, key informant interviews, exit interviews and pre-tested observation tools. Settings: Two tertiary care and four district hospitals in Rangpur and Sylhet Divisions of Bangladesh. Participants: Healthcare professionals and caregivers of children with SAM. Results: Anthropometric tools, glucometer, medicines, F-75, F-100 and national guidelines for facility-based management of childhood SAM were found unavail- able in some of the hospitals. Sitting and sleeping arrangements for the caregivers were absent in all of the chosen facilities. We identified a combination of health system and contextual barriers that inhibited the facility-based management of SAM. The health system barriers include inadequate manpower, rapid turnover of staff, increased workload, lack of training and lack of adherence to management protocol. The major facility barriers were insufficient space and unavailability of required equipment, medicines and foods for hospitalised children with SAM. The reluctance of caregivers to complete the treatment regimen, their insufficient knowledge regarding proper feeding, increased number of attendants and poverty of parents were the principal contextual barriers. Conclusions: The study findings provide insights on barriers that are curbing the facility-based management of SAM and emphasise policy efforts to develop feasible interventions to reduce the barriers and ensure the preparedness of the facilities for effective service delivery.