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Traditional uvulectomy and reported complications in under-five children in Mkuranga district Pwani region, Eastern Tanzania

KV Mboneko
FM Fabian


The aim of the study was to determine the practices, reasons and complications of traditional uvulectomy (TU) in under five children in relation to the level of education and tribe of the parent/guardian.

This was a descriptive cross sectional study using the ballot and simple random sampling methods. It was done during the month of September 2005 and involved a total of 284 parents/guardians with their under fives. A structured questionnaire with both closed and open-ended questions was used to collect information and intra oral examination was done to confirm TU.

Seventy one percent of the parents/guardians had no formal education, whereas 29% had formal education up to primary (elementary) education. About 34% (98) of the children performed TU, while 66% (188) did not perform the procedure. 31% of the children from parents/guardians who had no formal education performed TU while about 41% of the children whose parents/guardians had formal education performed TU. There were 3 major tribes but there was no significant difference in the prevalence of TU among the tribes. The major reasons for TU were recurrent sore throat (33%), cough (33%) and vomiting (33%) while major complications were bleeding (50%) and difficult in swallowing (50%).

About one third of the under five children in this study population performed TU. TU was not associated with level of education and tribe. Major reasons for TU were upper respiratory tract infections, and major complications reported were bleeding and difficult in swallowing.

Tanzania Dental Journal Vol. 12(2) 2006: 65-69

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eISSN: 0856-0625