Traditional uvulectomy, a common practice in South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Med Sante Trop. 2018 May 1;28(2):176-181. doi: 10.1684/mst.2018.0779.


Background: Traditional uvulectomy in children, a very common and dangerous practice, remains poorly documented in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The aim of this study was to establish the epidemiological and clinical profile of children after a traditional uvulectomy and to determine their outcome of the children after this practice in 2 pediatric emergency unities in South Kivu province, DRC.

Method: This was a cross-sectional study took place conducted in 2 pediatric emergency unities in Bukavu town, in South Kivu province, throughout from January to December 2016. It included all children from 0 to 15 years of age. The usual statistical measures (frequenciesy, percentages, means, and medians) were used. Differences in group proportions and categorical variables were assessed withusing the chi-square test. These different tests were considered statistically significant at P < 0.05.

Findings: In all, A total of 1078 children were admitted to these pediatric emergency departments during the study period, including 202 cases of traditional uvulectomy, forgiving a prevalence of 18.7% among admissions. The median age of the children was 11 (1-168) months. Of the mothers who resorted to this practice, 153 One hundred fifty-three (75.7%) mothers who resorted to this practice had a low level of education. The main reasons for this practice were fever (50%), vomiting (15.8%), and refusal to suckle (12.4%). The mortality rate after uvulectomy was 11.9%. Risk factors associated with mortality following traditional uvulectomy were HIV infection ([OR (95 % CI) 3.16, 95% CI (1.28-7.79); P = 0.040] and acute malnutrition ([OR (95% CI) 2.87, 95% CI (1.28 - 6.43); P = 0.024)].

Conclusion: The prevalence of traditional uvulectomy and the mortality rate after traditional uvulectomy both remain high. Information, education, and communication campaigns on this practice must be developed in order to reduce this scourge.

Keywords: Democratic Republic of Congo; child; pediatric emergency; traditional; uvulectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Modification, Non-Therapeutic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Culture*
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Uvula / surgery*