Newborn Cord Care Practices Amongst Mothers in Yenagoa Local Government Rea, Bayelsa State, Nigeria


Background: Clean cord care is one of the essential newborn care practices recommended by the World Health Organisation to reduce morbidity and mortality amongst the World’s newborns. Despite this, cord infections are still prevalent in developing countries because of the high rates of unhygienic cord care practices. The study aimed to explore cord care practices in our environment and identify areas for intervention. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study carried out amongst mothers attending three primary health care facilities with their infants in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Nigeria. Simple structured questionnaires were used to obtain information concerning the ages and sexes of babies, place of antenatal care and birth, treatments applied to the umbilical cord stump and the socioeconomic status of the parents. Data were analysed using SPSS version 16.0. Results: Two hundred and twenty one mothers participated in the study. The infants were aged 0 - 6 months with a male to female ratio of 1:1. Fifty four (24.4%) of mothers were of high social class. Cord care was done by grandmothers in 107(48.4%) and mothers in 89(40.3%) of babies. Sixty four (29.0%) mothers had their babies cord cleaned with Methylated spirit alone while 138(62.4%) cleaned with Methylated spirit and then applied other substances including antibiotic ointments and herbs. Maternal education, social class of parents and place of delivery were significantly associated with application of potentially harmful substances to the cord, (p = 0.049, 0.010 and 0.030 respectively). The commonest sources of information on cord care were nurses in 99 (44.8%) and grandmothers in 44 (19.9%). Conclusion: There is still a high rate of use of potentially harmful substances for cord care. All heath workers should participate in educating, mothers and grandmothers about optimal cord care.

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P. Opara, T. Jaja, D. Dotimi and B. Alex-Hart, "Newborn Cord Care Practices Amongst Mothers in Yenagoa Local Government Rea, Bayelsa State, Nigeria," International Journal of Clinical Medicine, Vol. 3 No. 1, 2012, pp. 22-27. doi: 10.4236/ijcm.2012.31004.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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