BACKGROUND: Neonatal jaundice (NNJ) is a common condition and when not adequately treated leads to acute bilirubin encephalopathy/kernicterus. This largely preventable condition is an important cause of death and disability in low- and middle-income countries. Education, early detection and effective management are key for prevention and require an understanding of community knowledge and practices to foster appropriate behavior to prevent severe NNJ. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify knowledge, observation for jaundice (both active and passive) and practices related to NNJ in northern Nigeria. METHODS: This descriptive, correlational and cross-sectional study enrolled 298 household members with an average age of 29.8 years in Kano, Nigeria. A structured questionnaire regarding knowledge of, potential sequelae and causes and local practices related to NNJ was administered and data were analyzed using descriptive and Chi-square statistics. RESULTS: Participants reported: 85% NNJ to be a sign of illness; 3% understood that NNJ could cause brain damage; 94% did not actively observe for jaundice in their newborns; 56% did not know what causes NNJ; 88% would seek care if their newborn developed jaundice. Significant relationships between educational levels and what study participants would do if a newborn develops jaundice and between occupation, educational level and knowledge about causes of NNJ were noted, consistent with a difference in active jaundice observation between ethnic groups. CONCLUSION: A public health approach to NNJ with a strong community education program is a crucial next step in the fight to eliminate severe NNJ.
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- neonatal jaundice
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article