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Magnitude of domestic violence against Pregnant women in Malawi

Abstract

Robert Chasweka, Angela Chimwaza, Alfred Maluwa and Jon Oyvind Odland

Domestic violence against pregnant women exists in Malawi but its magnitude was unknown due to scanty published data on the subject. The aim of the study was to determine the magnitude of Domestic Violence against pregnant women attending antenatal clinic at Nsanje District Hospital in the Southern Region of Malawi. The study design was descriptive quantitative using a random sample of 292 pregnant women. A structured questionnaire was administered to each pregnant woman that consented to participate in the study. The findings indicate that the majority (59%) of women was psychologically, physically and sexually abused during pregnancy. There was a significant association (P<0.05) between domestic violence and witnessing abuse as a child in the home. In addition, domestic violence also showed significant association (P<0.05) with a woman being pregnant. However there was no significant association (P>0.05) between domestic violence and other demographic variables of age, low education level and low income. Community awareness creation on domestic violence, strengthening of the victim support unit and training of health workers to screen and counsel victims of domestic violence during antenatal care education is recommended.

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