Knowledge and perception of obstetric complications among women in a semi urban community in the Niger delta of Nigeria
Background: Ogunu is an oil producing community located in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State. It is a semi urban area with no hospital but a Primary health center. Majority of the women patronize traditional birth attendants for delivery and obstetric complications are high. In the absence of any orthodox health facilities apart from the primary health center here, traditional birth attendants manage majority of the deliveries.
Objective: The study was aimed at assessing the knowledge and perception of obstetric complications among women in the reproductive age group at Ogunu community in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
Methodology: This was a community based cross sectional survey of randomly selected reproductive aged women who consented, using an interviewer-administered semi structured questionnaire. Data was analyzed with the SPSS 16 statistical software package. Consent of the women was sought and once obtained, they were assisted in filling a semi-structured questionnaire containing questions on knowledge and perception of obstetric complications. Information generated was recorded on a data collection sheet designed for the study. The coded data were fed into the computer using the SPSS 16 programme to determine the mean values and frequencies.
Results: A total of 400 questionnaires were distributed with 349 completely filled and analyzed. Majority of the subjects were in the age range 25-34 [154 (44.1%)] and the mean age was 31.6±7.7 years. 191 (54.7%) of subjects were married and 307 (88.0%) had one form of education or the other. Over 307 (88%) subjects had knowledge of the major obstetric complications of excessive bleeding, hypertension, and obstructed labour. 162(46.4) and 141(40.4%) of subjects believed that vaginal bleeding in pregnancy and excessive bleeding after delivery were due to evil forces and infidelity respectively. 162 (46.4%) and 123(35.2%) of participants respectively believed that vaginal bleeding in pregnancy and excessive bleeding after delivery will stop, therefore hospital visit is not necessary and that local herbs are best treatment. Majority, 251 (71.9%) did not know the definition of prolonged labour. Very few believed that difficult labour should be treated by local herbs, 24 (6.9%), massaging the abdomen 23 (6.5%) and visiting of TBA's 25 (7.2%).
Conclusion: This study shows that a large proportion of subjects have a good knowledge and perception of obstetric complications. However the few that have negative perception may contribute to the already alarming high rate of obstetric complications in Nigeria. Despite the high level of awareness of obstetric complications, there still exists some erroneous perception with regards to the aetiology & management of such complications among the women. Widespread public health enlightment campaigns are urgently needed to correct these negative perceptions of obstetric complications by the populace.