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Exploring the knowledge, attitude and practices of PHC students regarding preconception care in a selected higher education institution in eThekwini district: a descriptive study.

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Sub-Saharan African countries have been the worst affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and high incidence of maternal and child mortality rates, more than all other continents in the world. Preventive care in nursing is the area that requires serious attention, as a lot of maternal and child morbidity and mortality can be averted through rendering a comprehensive holistic care to women of child-bearing age. The ‘Draft Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases 2013-2020’, that was discussed at the 66th World Health Assembly in May 2013, urges governments to decrease the modifiable risk factors for non-communicable diseases and the underlying social determinants. Preconception care as part of the national policy framework is recognised as an important contributor to prevention and control of noncommunicable disease, with the aim of intervening in the early life with the ultimate goal of improving maternal and child health outcomes. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the knowledge, attitude, and practices of Primary Health Care students regarding preconception care in a selected institution in the eThekwini District. A non-experimental, exploratory, descriptive, quantitative design was used for the study. The study population comprised of all the primary health care nursing students of the selected higher education institute. The total population from the three sites selected, based on their geographical location, was 163 and all the nurses were invited to participate in the study. Only 138 participated in the study, giving a response rate of 85%. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect the data and the data was entered and subsequently analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences SPSS version 24. The findings of the study revealed that although primary health care nurses possessed high knowledge and a favourable attitude towards preconception care, they were still lacking in implementation and 71.7% had never received any training on the provision of preconception care. Based on these findings, it is recommended that preconception care is incorporated into the curriculum of primary health care nurses. Key terms: Preconception care, PHC nurses.


Master of Nursing in Maternal and Child Health. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2017.