African Health Sciences

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Knowledge of birth defects among nursing mothers in a developing country

TA Lawal, B Yusuf, AA Fatiregun


Background: In the absence of established guidelines, where formal screening is unavailable for birth defects, a lot of responsibility is placed on parents in the recognition of these defects.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to determine the awareness of mothers about birth effects in a developing country and assess what they know about the prevention, detection and treatment of children with birth defects.
Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study of 714 mothers consecutively selected at two major hospitals in Nigeria between May and December, 2012. Data were collected with interviewer administered questionnaires. Descriptive and inferential statistics were performed using SPSS and statistical significance set at p <0.05
Results: The participants were aged 17 to 42 years. Only 183 (25.6%) were aware of birth defects. Factors associated with awareness of birth defects were older age, religious belief, better education, higher socioeconomic class, early age at booking and registering at a tertiary care facility. Education, socioeconomic class as well as month and location of booking were found to be independent predictors of awareness of birth defects.
Conclusion: Mothers in Ibadan, Nigeria, a country without a formal newborn screening programme, have a poor level of awareness about birth defects.

Keywords: Awareness; Mothers; Birth defects; Developing country
AJOL African Journals Online