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Parents’ Attitude to Abdominal Scarification as Therapy for Splenic Enlargement in Children: A Community-Based Study in Southern Nigeria

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Author(s): Omokhoa A. Adeleye | Peter F. Iyeikhian

Journal: Asian Journal of Medical Sciences
ISSN 2040-8765

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 134;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Abdominal scarification | child mortality | malaria | Nigeria | splenomegaly | traditional medicine

ABSTRACT
This study was undertaken to assess the attitude gaps of parents regarding abdominal scarification of children as a treatment for splenic enlargement. The study was conducted in a rural community in southern Nigeria, a country that is stable and holoendemic for malaria. With a descriptive cross-sectional design, 262 parents of children at least 2-years old were selected using random clusters and participated in questionnairebased interviews. The results showed that 76.7% of the respondents believed that abdominal scarification was effective in treating splenic enlargement and 64.9% had at least one child so scarified. Only 34.7% (91/262) stated fever (accepted as correct for a lay, low-literate population) as the cause of splenic enlargement; others stated evil spirits, witches, etc as causes. Lower educational levels were significantly associated with having a child with abdominal scarification [Logistic regression: p = 0.034; OR = 1.37 (95% CI = 1.06-3.34)]. Older age, but not lower education, significantly favored the opinion that splenic enlargement should be treated with abdominal scarification [Logistic regression: p = 0.012; OR = 2.04 (95% CI = 1.17-3.54)]. The study demonstrates the profoundness of the belief in the therapeutic value of abdominal scarification and the continued threat the act poses to child survival. Education on malaria and splenic enlargement and the right management are required at community levels and from early stages in schools.
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