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Knowledge about and preventive practices against neonatal tetanus among young Nigerian women

C. A. Adegbenroa, Samuel Anu Olowookerea*, F. O. Fehintolaa, P. A. Adegbenrob, O. T. Oriokea

aDepartment of Community Health, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, IIe‑Ife, Osun State, Nigeria, bObafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile‑Ife, Osun State, Nigeria
 
 

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Open Access funded by Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

 

 

Abstract
 
Objective: The objective of this study was carried out to determine the knowledge about and preventive practices against neonatal tetanus (NNT) in young women of reproductive age. Materials and Methods: Descriptive cross‑sectional study design of 380 randomly selected consenting young women of child‑bearing age at a Nigerian tertiary educational institution. They completed a semi‑structured questionnaire on knowledge about and risk factors for NNT, willingness to receive the vaccine, and uptake of tetanus toxoid vaccine. Results: The mean age (standard deviation) of the women was 22.4 (4.6) years ranging from 15 to 30 years. The majority (64.5%) had poor knowledge of the causes of and risk factors for NNT with only 31% knowing that immunizing women against tetanus prevents NNT. Most of the women (58%) were unwilling to receive tetanus immunization. A total of 15.5% had received tetanus toxoid, but only 0.5% had completed the required dosage. A higher proportion of respondents with good knowledge about tetanus had tetanus toxoid immunization (28.1% vs. 8.6%; P < 0.0001). Conclusion: Knowledge about NNT, willingness to receive the vaccine, and uptake of tetanus toxoid were unacceptably poor among respondents. There is a need for continuous education targeting young women on the link between the tetanus immunization status of women and the occurrence of NNT.
 
Keywords: Maternity care, Morbidity and mortality, Neonatal tetanus, Tetanus toxoid immunization

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