Background: A community-based survey was conducted amongst mothers aged 15-49 years living in Mosan-Okunola, Lagos, Nigeria to determine the knowledge of, attitudes to, preventive and treatment practices towards neonatal jaundice (NNJ).
Materials and methods: The mothers were selected using a multi-stage sampling technique. A pre-tested interviewer-administered structured questionnaire was used to obtain data. The knowledge of the mothers was scored and scores lower than 50% were graded as poor, 50-74% as fair and ≥75% as good. The practice was also categorised as appropriate if one correct option was identified and was categorised as inappropriate where an incorrect option(s) was identified singly or in combination with a correct option.
Results: Three hundred and fifty-eight mothers were recruited. The mean age was 34.8 ± 9.05 years. Two hundred and seventy (75.4%) mothers had ever heard about the condition. Two hundred and forty-seven (91.4%) mothers correctly identified the condition and infection was the only most common known cause (47%). Only 34% of the mothers knew that NNJ could cause brain damage, and 40% identified refusal of feeds as a danger sign. Up to 64% of the mothers believed attending antenatal care could prevent the condition, and 58% were of the opinion that exposing babies to sunlight could prevent the condition. Sixty-eight percent (68.9%) of the mothers had a poor level of knowledge. Age and educational qualification did not show any statistically significant relationship with knowledge about NNJ (P < 0.05) but increasing maternal age had a significant association with an appropriate treatment practice (P < 0.05), the association was negative (r = -0.32).
Conclusion: Knowledge about NNJ was low in this community and ineffective preventive practices were utilised. Efforts should be made to increase it, and health workers should play a leading role.