Author(s): Tsinuel Girma, Hailu Nida
BACKGROUND: Neonatal deaths in general, early neonatal deaths in particular now represent two- third of infant deaths and one-third of under-five deaths worldwide. Therefore, improving newborn survival is a major priority in child health today. Negotiation of improved neonatal health care practice into the community requires differentiation of benign from harmful indigenous practices. The objective of the study was to assess traditional care given to newborns in Jimma Town. METHODS: A community based cross-sectional survey was conducted from February 8-22, 2004 in Jimma Town among 700 mothers of infant age 6 months or less. Descriptive statistics and inferences were done using SPSS for Windows version 11.0 and statistical significance was taken when p< 0.05. RESULT: Out of 700 sampled, 650 subjects were reached giving a response rate of 93%. However, the data of 40 subjects were not complete and so analysis was done on the 610 mothers with complete data. Five hundred twenty two (85.6 %) had antenatal care attendance for the last pregnancy and 436 (71.5%) of the index children were delivered in health institutions. Bedding-in (babies slept with mothers) was done for 591 (96.9%) neonates, prelacteal feeds was given to 77 (12.6%) neonates and 305 (50.0%) were initiated on breast-feeding after 12 hours of the delivery. On-demand and frequent (> 8/day) breast-feeding was reported by 569 (93.2%) of the mothers and breastfeeding problems by 44 (8.9%) of the mothers, Three hundred fifty six (58.4%) of the babies were bathed within 24 hours of delivery, butter was applied to the umbilical stump in 32 (48.7%) of the home delivered babies and only 17/85 (2.8%) “small” babies received additional care. CONCLUSION: High rate of ANC attendance and institutional delivery were observed. Practice of exclusive and on-demand breast-feeding was high and very few neonates received prelactal feeds. Most babies slept with their mothers Home delivered babies were exposed to harmful practices and small babies did not receive special care. harmful practices were Mothers should be educated during ANC follow up and after delivery on the need for special care to low birth weight/smaller babies.