Teething in infants—Knowledge and attitude of traditional birth attendants in Ibadan, Nigeria


Introduction: Misconceptions are associated with the teething process in Nigeria and is often blamed for symptoms in infants. A horrendous incident occurred in Nigeria in 2008 which recorded 84 infant deaths due to consumption of adulterated teething syrup to prevent teething problems. In the quest to engage the populace, particularly mothers, in health education to change this erroneous mindset about teething, it will be necessary and more cost effective to involve Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA’s) who can be invaluable in assisting to dispel myths associated teething as they live and work among the local populace and many times give counsel to mothers. Aim: To assess the attitude and beliefs of TBA’s in Ibadan, to teething in infants. Methods: A cross sectional survey was conducted among TBA’s in Ibadan, Nigeria. A thirteen item interviewer administered questionnaire was distributed to all 163 TBA’s in the five urban local government areas who agreed to be part of the study. Results: Over half of the respondents (59.5%) and (55.8%) associated the teething process with fever and diarrhea respectively. Other beliefs included boils (49.1%), loss of appetite (48.5%), weight loss (44.2%), and sleeplessness (42.3%). A greater proportion of the older and less educated TBA’s associated teething with fever, diarrhea, boils, loss of appetite and weight loss. The respondents would advise analgesics (55.8%), teething powder (67.5%), antibiotics (12.3%), concoctions (4.3%) and sedatives (4.3%) as teething remedies. There was a greater tendency for less educated TBA’s to advise the use of concoctions and antibiotics. Conclusion: The study reveals grave misconceptions among TBA’s who in developing countries like Nigeria give counsel to mothers in the various communities. There is an urgent need for health education to the TBA’s particularly the older and less educated ones.

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Bankole, O. , Taiwo, J. and Adesakin, A. (2013) Teething in infants—Knowledge and attitude of traditional birth attendants in Ibadan, Nigeria. Health, 5, 1406-1411. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.59192.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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