WCPT Africa Region Conference System, 9th WCPT Africa Region Congress

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Knowledge, Attitude and Perception of Pregnant Women towards Birth Defects in Accra Metropolis, Ghana
Augustine Appah Acquah, Ajediran I BELLO

Last modified: 2012-02-07



Purpose: Birth defects (BD) are a leading cause of infant and neonatal deaths in settings where overall mortality rates are low. Lack of knowledge as well as erroneous beliefs about the causes of BD among prospecitive mothers could result in late or delay interventions by health care practitioners. The study aimed to assess the level of knowledge, attitude and perception of BD among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic sessions at Ridge, Achimota and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospitals, Accra, Ghana.

Relevance: Adequate knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards birth defects among pregnant women could dispel erroneous beliefs surrounding the defects thereby improving health seeking behavours in terms of early treatment after delivery.  

Participants: Four hundred and thirty-three (433) pregnant women in their first, second and third trimester who were attending antenatal sessions at the selected hospitals participated in this study. Participants who were health professionals were excluded from the study.

Method: Ethical clearance was obtained from the Ethics Review Committee of the School of Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, and University of Ghana. Permissions were sought from the Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the selected hospitals. Consent was obtained from the participants after the purpose and protocol of the study had been explained to them. A cross sectional survey involved a researcher-administered questionnaire to obtain information regarding knowledge, attitude and perception about BD. The questionnaire was tested for inter and intra-rater reliability before its administration in this study.

Data analysis: Data were summarised using frequency and percentage distributions. Spearman’s rank correlation was used to determine the relationship between overall knowledge on BD and socio-demographic characteristics. Alpha level was set at p<0.05.

Results: Two hundred and eight (48.1 %) of participants had moderate overall knowledge about  BD while 205(46.3%) had high knowledge on its risk factors. 127(28.7%) had high specific knowledge about BD. 208 (48.1 %) of the respondents believed that BD were of spiritual origin whilst 104(24%) would prefer to seek spiritual intervention in addition to medical management for BD. Age, level of education, gravida and number of antenatal sessions a pregnant woman attended were not significantly related with their knowledge about BD.

Conclusion: There were erroneous beliefs among the sampled pregnant women about BD. These tend to undermine their knowledge about the defects. Thus, relevant information about the defects should be incorporated into antenatal session so as to ensure adequate education about the condition.

Implications: The outcome of this study is implicated in physiotherapy practice in which early detection of deformity by the nursing mothers can result in cost effective management in terms of energy and finance as prompt treatment can be implemented.

Key words: Birth defect, pregnant women, knowledge, attitude, perception

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