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Afr J Reprod Health. 1998 Apr; 2(1): 20-5.

Perceived causes of eclampsia in four ethnic groups in Borno State, Nigeria.

el-Nafaty AU, Omotara BA.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria.

This study was conducted among the four major ethnic groups(Kanuri, Babur, Shuwa and Marghi) of Borno State, North-east Nigeria. The aim of the study was to identify the perceived causes of eclampsia, a leading cause of maternal death in the State. The data were obtained through focus group discussions (FGDs), questionnaires and in-depth interviews. A total of 16 FGDs and 1,167 questionnaire interviews were conducted among the rural populace. In-depth interviews were conducted on relatives of thirty eclamptic patients admitted to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. The findings revealed that evil spirits/witches and wizards, poor nutrition, heredity early marriage, destiny from God and machinations of co-wives are the perceived causes of eclampsia in the area. These perceptions result in the use of the following as means of treatment: drinks of various concoctions, inhalation of smoked herbs in rooms, potash drinks, and the wearing of talisman around the neck. These perceptions and traditional medications have implications for design of educational and informational messages aimed at reducing maternal mortality from eclampsia in Borno State.

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