Original Research

Primary health workers’ knowledge and practices relating to neonatal jaundice in Ibadan, Nigeria

Adebola E. Orimadegun, Adeola O. Ojebiyi
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 9, No 1 | a1081 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v9i1.1081 | © 2017 Adebola E. Orimadegun, Adeola O. Ojebiyi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 October 2015 | Published: 30 January 2017

About the author(s)

Adebola E. Orimadegun, Institute of Child Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Adeola O. Ojebiyi, Institute of Child Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria


Background: Over half of births and newborn care occur in primary healthcare facilities in Nigeria, but information on activities of personnel working there is scarce.
Aim: To assess the knowledge and practices relating to neonatal jaundice (NNJ) among community health workers (CHWs) and community birth attendants (CBAs) in Nigeria.
Setting: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of all 227 CHWs and 193 registered CBAs in Ibadan, Nigeria.
Methods: Knowledge and practices regarding NNJ were measured using a pretested questionnaire. Knowledge and practices were assessed on a 33-point scale and a 13-point scale, respectively. Scores ≤  17 and ≤  9 was regarded as poor knowledge and as wrong practice, respectively.
Results: Many (64.5%) of the respondents could not correctly describe examination for NNJ (CHWs: 49.4%; CBAs: 50.6%). Of the 200 (47.6%) who treated NNJ 3 months prior to the study, 62.5% (CHWs: 66.9% and CBAs: 53.7%) treated NNJ with orthodox drugs. Drugs prescribed included: antibiotics (93.3%), antimalarials (5.3%), multivitamins (28.0%), paracetamol (6.2%) and phenobarbitone (7.1%). Significantly more CHWs than CBAs practiced exposure to sunlight (33.1% versus 16.4%) and administration of glucose water (28.6% versus 14.9%), while 58.0% of all respondents referred cases to secondary health facilities. Overall, 80.2% had poor knowledge (CHWs: 78.9%; CBAs: 81.9%) and 46.4% engaged in wrong practices (CHWs: 57.3%; CBAs: 33.7%). CHWs were more likely to indulge in wrong practices than CBAs (OR = 2.22, 95% CI = 1.03, 4.79).
Conclusion: Primary Health Workers in Ibadan had poor knowledge and engaged in wrong practices about NNJ. The needs to organise regular training programmes were emphasised.


Neonatal jaundice, Community health workers, Birth attendants


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Crossref Citations

1. Antenatal jaundice instruction and acute bilirubin encephalopathy in Nigeria
Richard P. Wennberg, Zainab O. Imam, David D. Shwe, Laila Hassan, Zubaida L. Farouk, Lindsey E. Turner, Ann M. Brearley, Tina M. Slusher, Stephen Oguche
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