African Health Sciences

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Knowledge and perceptions on childhood asthma among care-takers of children with asthma at a National Referral Hospital in Western Kenya: a descriptive study

Justus Simba, Irene Marete, Rebecca Waihenya, Yeri Kombe, Ann Mwangi, Patrick Mburugu, Francis Ogaro


Background: Identifying knowledge gaps in asthma self-management and identifying existing myths is an important step in determining appropriate health education and demystifying the myths so as to enhance asthma control.
Objective: To identify existing knowledge gaps and perceptions among the caregivers of asthmatic children.
Methods: A cross sectional study was done among caretakers of asthmatic children aged 6-11 years at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. Data on knowledge and perceptions among caretakers was collected using a questionnaire.  
Results: A total of 116 caretakers were recruited of whom 71.6% were mothers. Although 60% of the caretakers had asthma medications at home, only a third felt their children were asthmatic. Eighty four (72.4%) had basic asthma knowledge. Syrups were preferred to inhalers by 70.7%, with 64.7% believing that inhalers were for the very sick. Only 36 (31%) felt preventer medications in asthma were necessary. Acceptance of asthma as a diagnosis and presence of asthma drugs were significantly associated with better knowledge of asthma, p-values 0.015 and 0.009 respectively.
Conclusion: Most caregivers perceive syrups to be better despite having good basic knowledge on asthma. There is need to address asthma perceptions among caretakers in resource poor settings which is likely to improve control.  

Keywords: Childhood asthma, care-takers, Western Kenya.

AJOL African Journals Online