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Maternal knowledge, attitude and practices regarding childhood acute respiratory infections in Kumasi, Ghana

Maternal knowledge, attitude and practices regarding childhood acute respiratory infections in Kumasi, Ghana

Annals of Tropical Paediatrics 14(4): 293-301

At the two largest open air markets in Kumasi, Ghana, interviews were conducted with 143 women who had at least one child aged less than five years. Researchers wanted to examine their knowledge, attitude, and practices concerning acute respiratory infection (ARI) in children. The women tended to be married, Christian, from the Ashanti tribe, aged 20-29 years, and to have 2-3 living children. 73.4% had a child or children who had suffered from cough and fever within the last six months. 73.4% named exposure to cold as a direct cause of cough. Many women incorrectly blamed worm infestation for causing cough and fever (21%) and constipation for causing cough (25.9%). None mentioned pathogens as a cause of cough and fever. None said that good ventilation and avoidance of overcrowding prevent cough and fever. The more serious the symptoms, the more likely the mothers were to seek treatment at a health care facility (e.g., cough only, 0.7%; cough and fever, 6.3%; cough, fever, and anorexia, 30%; and cough, fever, and lethargy, 57.3%). Common home care practices for treating a runny nose included ephedrine or other types of nasal drops, herbal medicines, antipyretics, and antibiotics. 39.9% would use antibiotics to treat coughs. Honey and cough syrup were often used to treat cough and fever. Some herbal and home care therapies had potentially harmful effects. For example, 25.9% said that they used castor oil and enemas to prevent ARI. The women had an acceptable knowledge score on severity of symptoms (mode = 15/20; range = 11-18). These findings indicate a need for a health education program targeting mothers of children aged less than five years.

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Accession: 008995453

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PMID: 7880091

DOI: 10.1080/02724936.1994.11747732

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