Evaluation of home care management of umbilical cord stumps by mothers at Ilesa, Southwestern Nigeria
Background: Umbilical cord care is an integral part of neonatal care in all communities and cultures and appropriate cord care reduces the risk of infection in the newborn infant.
Objective: The present study assessed the home care management of the umbilical stump by the mothers at Ilesa, Southwestern Nigeria.
Subjects and methods: The subjects were newborn babies brought for routine immunization in health facilities at Ilesa, Nigeria. Informed consent was obtained from the mothers and permission sought from the nurses in charge of the immunization centres. Data collected were entered into a research proforma designed for the study. The babies had complete physical examination with special emphasis on the umbilical cord stump for
any abnormality or complications resulting from care.
Results: Of 331 babies aged 0 to 28 days assessed, 194 (58.6%) were
males and 137 (41.4%) females. The age range at dropping of the cord was 3 to 25 days with a mean and standard deviation of 8.64 ± 3.55 days. Common methods of umbilical cord care are cleaning with methylated spirit, hot water formentation and the application of shea butter. None of the mothers had appropriate cord care practice of hand-washing before and after cord care, washing the cord with clean water and soap, keeping the
cord dry and exposed to air. However, 225 (68.0%) had fair cord care while 106 (32.0%) had poor cord care. Fifty six (16.9%) of the 331 babies had various localized complications of the umbilicus. These were purulent discharge/umbilical sepsis, bleeding, umbilical granuloma, periumbilical cellulitis and omphalitis. Associated factors to poor cord care and complications were no antenatal care and lower social class of the mothers.
Conclusions: It is concluded that improved antenatal care, improved social class and training on appropriate cord care during antenatal care visit will improve incidence of cord complications.
Key words: Evaluation, Home Care, Umbilical cord stump care, Nigeria