Teachers’ knowledge and attitudes towards seizure disorder: A comparative study of urban and rural school teachers in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria
Background: Knowledge and attitude of school teachers with regard to seizure disorder has an important impact on continuation of schooling of children with seizure disorder. Though school teachers in both rural and urban settings are exposed to the same training, their perception of seizure disorder could be influenced by the environment in which they reside.
Objectives: To determine the knowledge and attitudes of school teachers towards children with seizure disorder, and the influence of urban residence on perception of seizure disorder by the teachers.
Materials and Methods: A self‑administered questionnaire on knowledge and attitudes to seizure disorder were filled by school teachers drawn from both urban and rural settings in Akwa‑Ibom State, Nigeria.
Results: One‑hundred and thirty‑two urban school teachers and an equal number of their rural counterparts completed the questionnaire. There were significantly more female teachers in the urban schools whereas the rural schools were dominated by male teachers with male to female ratio of 1:5.6 and 1.2:1, respectively. Majority of the urban (60.6%) and rural (57.6%) school teachers were National Certificate of Education holders. Thirty‑eight (28.8%) of urban respondents versus eight (6.1%) of rural respondents thought seizure disorder was caused by evil spirits whereas 60 (45.5%) urban respondents compared to 80 (60.6%) of rural respondents felt seizure disorder was infectious. Majority of the respondents from both urban and rural schools (68.2% and 63.6% respectively) believed that the foam from the mouth of a convulsing child with seizure disorder is the infecting agent. However, 62.1% of urban respondents as well as 45.5% of rural respondents would advise that children with seizure disorder be admitted into special schools. There was no significant difference in the mean overall knowledge and attitudes of school teachers to seizure disorder in the two settings (P = 0.33 for knowledge and 0.28 for attitudes). Teachers’ high level of education however, had a positive influence on their knowledge and attitudes towards children with seizure disorder.
Conclusion: School teachers in both urban and rural schools exhibited poor knowledge and negative attitudes towards children with seizure disorder. Residing in the urban setting did not have a positive impact on teachers’ perception of seizure disorder. Massive health education on seizure disorder is therefore advocated for teachers in both urban and rural schools.
Key words: Attitude, knowledge, perception school teachers