Fathers' experiences of child care and feeding: a photo-elicitation study in urban low resource setting, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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Department of Women's and Children Health, International Maternal and Child Health, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Addis Continental Institute of Public Health, Ethiopian Public Health Association, Ethiopia
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1163
Background and Objectives: Childrens health and wellbeing studies focus mainly on mothers roles, and very little is known about the experiences and challenges that fathers face to fulfill their responsibilities. This study Aims to explore the fathers’ lived experiences of child care and feeding in urban low-income settings. Methods: A qualitative study was conducted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo-elicitation was used to facilitate the in-depth interviews with fathers who had children below the age of five years. Participants were asked to take pictures depicting their roles as fathers, capturing aspects of the setting they deemed noteworthy. A thematic analysis approach was used to analyze transcribed and cleaned data. Results: The overarching theme of this study was fatherhood as an enduring identity, comprising three subthemes: 1) Blessings of fatherhood, 2) Adjusting to fathering roles, and 3) Struggles/demands of fatherhood in low-resource settings. The analysis indicated that having children and becoming a father was a blessing. Fathers conveyed their love, devotion, and attachment to their children, and some used the term "my second chance in life". Nonetheless, while striving to spend time and care for children relentlessly, parallel challenges, such as the internal struggle to adjust to a new ‘fatherhood’ role while maintaining their old selves, were highlighted. The pressure of providing for a family amidst existing pressures from the external environment, such as poor housing conditions, a lack of employment opportunities, and the current COVID-19 pandemic disrupts their context further adding to their stress. Conclusions: Most fathers were engaged in child care and feeding suggesting that like mothers, fathers should be viewed as a potential agent for implementing nutrition interventions. However, if such interventions are to be successful, they need to incorporate components that boost fathers livelihoods and general well-being.
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