Cord care practices among mothers attending immunization clinic at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City.
Background: Poor cord care practices contribute to neonatal morbidity and mortality resulting from neonatal infections including tetanus. Identification of negative practices should ultimately improve care and neonatal outcome. Objective: To evaluate cord care practices among mothers attending the Well Baby/Immunization Clinic of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City. Subjects and Methods: Four hundred and ninety-seven mothers who brought their babies to Well Baby/Immunization Clinic in UBTH between July and August 2009 were interviewed. A structured, pretested questionnaire was used as test instrument to investigate the care of the umbilical cord of their infants in their last deliveries. Results: Harmful or non-beneficial cord care practices were common (79.5%) among mothers in Benin City. Most delivery units used thread (65.6%) and plastic cord clamp (22.7%) to secure haemostasis at the umbilical stump. Other materials used include suture materials, strips of cloth, bandage, plaster and rubber band. Majority of the mothers practiced hand washing before (86.9%) and after (89.3%) cord care. The traditional practices of cord care in Benin City include the use of hot compress (46.1%), menthol-containing balm, herbs, native chalk, petroleum jelly, palm oil, toothpaste (Close-up), salt, sand and saliva. The most common single agent for cord treatment was alcohol (methylated spirit). Conclusion: The attendant risks associated with harmful cord care practices remain real in our communities. There is need for education of the public, using the mass media and health talks in health facilities, to discourage harmful cord care practices while reinforcing beneficial ones.
Key Words: Umbilical cord, Care practices, Mothers, Benin City. Introduction