Amulets, Bands and Other Traditional Applications seen among Emergency and Neonatal Paediatric Admissions in a Tertiary Centre, Nigeria.

Adeboye, M. A. N. ; Adeboye, A. O. ; Abdulkarim, Aishatu A. ; Eze, Edith C. ; Saka, Mohammed J. ; Usman, Abdullahi ; Solomon, Amos ; Rotimi, Bosede F. (2011)

Article

Objectives: This study aims to investigate the types and indications of amulets, bands and traditional applications among pediatric emergencies and neonatal admissions into the Federal Medical Centre, Bida, Nigeria. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted between January and July, 2008. Children admitted into the emergency and neonatal units of the institution with traditional applications were recruited. Information on demography, time the application was introduced, the reason, cost implication and belief about the efficacy were obtained using a semi-structured questionnaire. Socio-Economic Class was defined using the Oyedeji Classification. Results: The study was based at Federal Medical Centre, Bida and consisted of 666 children admitted into the hospital via the Emergency pediatric and the Neonatal Unit, with a seven-month period prevalence of 11.4% (76 patients). Of the 76 cases screened for the use traditional applications, only 64 (84.2%) were recruited, the remaining did not agree to participate in the study. The mean age was 493.1±528.5 days. The study group included 37 males and 27 females (sex ratio 1.4:1) aged 11 days to 2920 days. The applications used included neck band (54.7%), ankle band (15.6%) and head paste (15.6%). Reasons for the applications included prevention of childhood illnesses (17.2%), sutures closure (15.6%), as well as warding off evil spirits and convulsions (12.5%). The socio-economic classification was I (1.6%), II (7.8%), III (15.6%), IV (45.3%), and V (29.7%). Sixty (93.0%) parents believed the applications cannot be used with conventional medicine, while 53.1% of the participants, obtained them free of charge. Conclusion: The use of traditional applications, often for preventive purposes, is common among pediatric patients, especially of low socio-economic classifications. The majority of users considered them incompatible with simultaneous conventional medical care. This has adverse implications for time to presentation for conventional care and treatment outcomes. Promotive and preventive healthcare interventions are needed to reverse this trend. Future broad-based research is warranted.

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