Neonatal care – what do mothers in a rural Nigerian community know and practice?

C.C. Nnebue*, C.B. Duru, K.A. Uwakwe, C.O. Ifeadike, B.C. Anyanwu, K.M. Adinnu, P.O. Nwaneri, I.J. Ufoh | JNPM 2016;

: Nigeria ranks among developing countries with poor neonatal health indices. This underscores the need for households and healthcare providers to understand the concept of newborn care and react appropriately and timely too.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the knowledge and practices of mothers in the Elele community regarding neonatal care.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a community-based descriptive cross sectional study of 380 mothers who had a neonate. Mothers were selected using a multistage sampling technique. Data were collected by interview using a semi-structured questionnaire (with closed and open ended questions) and analyzed using a statistical package for social sciences version 22.0. Chi-square test was used to identify statistically significant associations among antenatal care clinic (ANC) attendance cum place of delivery and neonatal care practices.
RESULTS: Ninety one (23.9%) of respondents were aware of at least four out of nine danger signs, while all reported wrapping their babies within 10 minutes after birth. Duration less than six hours from birth to first bath, feeding with or discarding of colostrum and timing of first breastfeeding within the first hour of birth were significantly associated with ANC attendance (p = 0.000, p = 0.002 and p = 0.000 respectively). Duration less than six hours to first bath, umbilical cord care and feeding with or discarding of colostrum were significantly associated with health facility delivery (p = 0.043, p = 0.026 and p = 0.003 respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Inadequate knowledge of newborn care among mothers was found, while non-ANC attendance and non-health facility delivery were associated with inappropriate neonatal care practices. We recommend comprehensive behavior change interventions, to promote proper neonatal care practices.

*Corresponding Author: 

Dr. C.C. Nnebue, Department of HIV Care and Department of Community Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Teaching Hospital, PMB 5025, Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria. Tel.: +234 8034756621; E-mail: