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October 2021

Cent Afr J Med. 1998 Oct; 44(10): 258-61.

Traditional medicine in Nigeria and modern obstetric practice: need for cooperation.

Opaneye AA.

Middlesbrough General Hospital, England.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalent use of traditional medicine in pregnancy and labour and to find out if there is any association between the use of traditional medicine and obstetric outcomes. DESIGN: A cross sectional structured interview survey and case notes review. SETTING: Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ogun State University Teaching Hospital (OSUTH), Sagamu, Nigeria. SUBJECTS: 300 parturient mothers. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: a) Use or non-use of traditional medicines in pregnancy and labour. b) Maternal morbidity and mortality. c) Perinatal morbidity and mortality. RESULTS: 160 (53.3%) patients admitted to the use of traditional medicine in pregnancy and labour. The two groups (users and non-users) were similar with respect to age, parity and level of education. The three maternal deaths occurred in the users' group. The perinatal mortality was 91 per 1,000 among the users and 61.2 per 1,000 for the non-users. CONCLUSION: Mothers and neonates in the users' group fared worse than the controls. Delay in seeking hospital care was the major factor in the poorer outcomes for the users' group. Since the use of traditional medicine in pregnancy and labour is common among the population, efforts should be made by the two groups of physicians (traditional and Western) to co-operate.


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