The practice of uvulectomy and related complications among children aged below 6 years in Ilemela district, Mwanza, Tanzania
Aim: The aim of the study was to asses the prevalence of traditional uvulectomy, the age at which it is normally performed, the reasons as well as the associated complications. Study Design: This was a descriptive cross sectional community based study done in Mwanza region in Tanzania during the months of August-September 2007. Study subjects and Methods: The targeted respondents were 242 parents/guardians of children from 6 years and below, comprising of 45.2% males and 54.8% females. Multistage random sampling technique using ballot system was used to get the region and district. Using the same system by listing all the wards in Ilemela districts Kirumba ward was selected. All households with children in the desired age were included and the schools and ten-cells were randomly select to attain 242 children. Children below 3 months could not be available in the study population. Results: Prevalence of uvulectomy in this study was 3.6%. It was found to be higher among females (4.38%) than males (2.65%), but the difference was not statistically significant (P= 0.417). The majority (77.78% ) of those reported to have done uvulectomy did it when less than one year while few (22.22%) had the operation between age 1 and less than 2 years. The commonest indication for uvulectomy was cough (81.8%) whereas the most common reported complications were severe hemorrhage (66.57%), rejecting foods (9.1%), failure to gain weight (9.1%), and others 15.3. Conclusion: The prevalence is much less than in previous studies in Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa. The major reason for the surgery was cough and major complications were bleeding and difficult in feeding. The uvula returns to normal shape and size by 6 years.
Key words: Uvula, Uvulectomy, bleeding, Mwanza-Tanzania