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Table 1 Mothers who lost a child

From: Do health systems delay the treatment of poor children? A qualitative study of child deaths in rural Tanzania

Name of mother Age of child Symptoms Treatment-seeking actions Outcome
Leah 1 year Sudden vomiting, swelling stomach Went to dispensary same day, and later to district hospital The child died the following day at the hospital
Happiness 5 months Fever, convulsions/degedege First treatment with medicines at home, then went to health centre The child died on the sixth day at the health centre
Dorcas New-born Difficulties with the umbilical cord. The mother thinks the nurse fixed the cord wrongly. Delivery took place at health centre The child started to suck, but died while mother was asleep. Died at health centre.
Esther 2 years 9 months Stomach problems for four months: frequent diarrhoea with foam and/or blood. Anaemia. First treatment with herbs at home. Then they went directly to district hospital. Three days at hospital with drops, ORS and medicine. Blood transfusion was planned, but the child died at the hospital.
Grace 1 year 11 months From birth the child was often sick, body and eyes became greenish, and the child had fever several times. The child was anaemic. Went to district hospital four times to get treatment (medicine and blood transfusion). The child died at hospital two weeks after admission.
Agnes 2 years Started with fever and anaemia; later the whole body swelled and bad smelling water came out of the nose. The child was sick for four months. Was admitted to district hospital in the beginning. Later tried traditional healer. In the last phase, the child was prescribed injections by the dispensary. The child died at home without finishing all the prescribed injections at the dispensary.
Hogra 5 months Started with vomiting and diarrhoea. Went to the dispensary, where the child was prescribed five injections at five-hour intervals. The child died at home on the second day.
Maria M New-born The child was delivered by caesarean section. The mother does not know of any symptoms. The mother delivered at the health centre. The child died about twelve hours after birth.
Agnes P 1 year Fever and degedege. Went to dispensary, where medicine was prescribed. Went again next day and third day she went to district hospital, where the child was admitted with drops and medicine. The child died at the hospital on the third day of the sickness.
Maria K 5 months Fever and degedege Went to health centre, where the child was admitted and treated for two days. After one day, the child was admitted again. The child died at the health centre after three days of sickness.
Lucy 1 year 2 months Vomiting and diarrhoea, and fever. Dehydration. Went to dispensary, but clinical officer was drunk and did not receive them. Bought medicine at drug store. Next morning went to district hospital, where the child was admitted and treated. The child died at the hospital on the day of admission.
Hawa 5 years Had episodes of chest problems since birth. Coughing started and the whole body started to swell. Went to dispensary and hospital during some episodes. Went to mission hospital and was referred to Muhimbili. Was referred to India for operation. Had also consulted traditional healer who referred child to hospital. The child was diagnosed with heart problems (hole in the heart). The child died at home.
Amina 4 months Fever and later degedege. Went to dispensary for treatment, consulted traditional healer for the degedege. Was referred to district hospital. The child died during the first night at hospital.
Janet 9 months The child’s head started to swell, and eventually the child did not want to breastfeed. Went to the district hospital. Were referred to Muhimbili, but due to financial constraints they did not go. The child died at home after five months.
Velian 6 months Fever, coughing and breathing problems. Went to the dispensary for treatment. The child died at home.
Melusela 4 months Fever, whining and not willing to breastfeed. Did not consult health facilities. The child died at home after three days.
  1. Summary of mothers’ accounts.