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Infant oral mutilation (IOM) related to traditional practices among inner city pre-school children in Sudan

Alya Isam Elgamri
Azza Tagelsir Ahmed
Omer Elfatih Haj-Siddig
Judith R Chin


Background: The term Infant Oral Mutilation (IOM) refers to the aggressive cultural rituals where primary canine tooth germs of infants are enucleated for therapeutic reasons.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence and risk factors for IOM among inner city pre-school children in Khartoum.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 212 randomly selected children from twelve government pre-schools in Khartoum were examined for the presence of IOM. Socio-demographic, feeding and teething-related data were collected by self-administered questionnaires.
Results: The mean age of the sample was 4.7 years. The prevalence of clinical IOM was 10.8%. Multivariable regression analysis revealed that children who suffered from diarrhea during teething were 7.15 times more likely to have clinical IOM over their counterparts (p<0.0001). Mothers who were educated below elementary school level were 2.69 times more likely to have children showing clinical IOM (p= 0.0369).
Conclusion: The present study showed that the practice of IOM is common among inner city children. Certain teething-related symptoms especially diarrhea and maternal education could be strong determinants of the malpractice of IOM.

Keywords: Infant oral mutilation (IOM), traditional practices, pre-school children, Sudan.

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eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905