Original Research

Caregivers’ experiences and practices for malnourished children undergoing tuberculosis treatment in Eswatini

Bhekisisa S. Tsabedze, Debbie S.K. Habedi
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 29 | a2349 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v29i0.2349 | © 2024 Bhekisisa S. Tsabedze, Debbie S.K. Habedi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 2023 | Published: 05 April 2024

About the author(s)

Bhekisisa S. Tsabedze, Department of Health Studies, Faculty of Public Health, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa; and Eswatini Ministry of Health-National AIDS Program, Mbabane, Eswatini
Debbie S.K. Habedi, Department of Health Studies, Faculty of Public Health, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: Eswatini is one of the countries affected by malnutrition and tuberculosis (TB) and some cases remained untreated. These two conditions are major public health problems.

Aim: This study aimed to explore and describe caregivers’ experiences and practices of children’s nutrition during treatment.

Setting: Baylor College of Nursing Children’s Foundation – Eswatini (BCMCF-SD).

Methods: A qualitative study following a narrative design used purposive sampling to identify 12 caregivers of malnourished children and informed consent obtained. In-depth interview used semi-structured interview guide and digital voice recorder. Field notes were taken, transcribed, translated and analysed using NVivo version 11.

Results: Two themes emerged as home’s nutritional situation and health facility’s nutritional support. The study found that most of the caregivers gave children unbalanced diet, while those less than a year were mixed-fed. Some caregivers reported experience of lost breadwinners, unemployment and high number of children than what the family could afford. The caregivers’ practices around food by prescription included inadequate supply of the ready-to-use therapeutic food and sharing of prescribed food supplies with other healthy children.

Conclusion: During treatment, children’s caregivers need short health education and support. The Ministry of Health in Eswatini should consider using some comic books to guide that. Moreover, upscale vocational training promotes entrepreneurship and agricultural activities.

Contribution: Association of malnutrition and TB outcomes has provided evidence-based information for more comprehensive integration between nutrition programmes and tuberculosis programmes. The study’s findings contributed to the growing body of knowledge about the association between malnutrition and diagnosed drug-susceptible TB among children aged from 0 – 15 years.


caregivers; experiences; malnourished children; practices; tuberculosis treatment.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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