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Determinants of Cord Pratices Among Mothers Attending Selected Health Facilities in Southern Nigeria

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Mothers and care givers use different materials to care for the umbilical stump of their infants. How well this practice is done is an important determinant of the morbidity and mortality of infants and directly affects the achievement of millennium development goal 4. The Objective of the study was to identify the different substances/materials used for dressing of umbilical cord of newborns and to identify factors that determine the adoption of safe methods in the care of umbilical stump of newborns by mothers attending selected health facilities in Akwa Ibom State. A descriptive cross sectional facility based study was carried out among two hundred and nineteen (219) mothers attending two selected Primary Health care facilities in Uyo senatorial district of Akwa Ibom State who consecutively presented their babies to the well baby/immunization clinics of the centres. A structured self and interviewer administered questionnaire was used for the study, Data was analysed using Stata version 10 statistical software. Only 2 mothers (0.9%) dry cleaned the cord until the stump fell off while 195(89.0%). 93/42.5%), and 30113.7%) mothers applied methylated spirit, Vaseline and mentholatum respectively. Up to 5(2.3%) mothers admitted applying engine oil, ash, herbs and other substances to their babies’ cords. A greater proportion of the mothers 119(54.3%) practiced unsafe cord care while safe cord care was practiced by 100 (45.7%) of the mothers, Determinants of safe cord practices were maternal education at the post secondary level (p=0.002), delivery in an orthodox setting (p=<0.001), and health workers influencing cord care practice (p<0.001,OR 3.11,CI: 1.58-6.20). Unsafe cord care practice was predominant in the area. The importance of female education, delivery in an orthodox setting and the role of health workers in the education of mothers and other care givers on safe cord care practices is highlighted in the study. Implementing these findings will reduce cord infections including neonatal tetanus and improve infant well-being.

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