Mothers and childhood pneumonia: What should the focus of public campaigns be?

Thumbnail Image
Ekure, E.N.
Esezobor, C.I.
Balogun, M.R.
Mukhtar-Yola, M.
Ojo, O.O.
Emodi, I.J.
Omoigberale, A.I.
Oviawe, O.
Ezechukwu, C.C.
Olowu, A.O.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Paediatric Association of Nigeria
Background: Prompt administration of antibiotics to children with pneumonia significantly reduces the probability of death. However this requires early identification of such children in the community. In a country such as Nigeria with one of the highest pneumoniarelated deaths, what do mothers know about pneumonia, and what should be the content of public campaign messages? Methods: A structured questionnaire was administered to mothers attending paediatric clinics of Lagos University Teaching Hospital seeking their knowledge about the definition, causes, risk factors and symptoms of childhood pneumonia. Results: One hundred and seven (107) consecutive mothers participated in the study. The majority (97; 90.6%) had at least secondary education, were married (96; 89.7%) and professed to be either Christians or Muslims (105; 98.1%). Prior to the study, 16 (15%) had not heard about pneumonia. About half of the participants correctly identified fast/difficult breathing as suggestive of pneumonia. Threequarters reported exposure to cold as the cause of childhood pneumonia. Minimizing exposure to cold and wearing warm clothes were the two commonest reported ways of preventing pneumonia (75.8% and 49.5% of the mothers respectively); in contrast hand washing, exclusive breastfeeding and limiting exposure to sick persons with cough and catarrh were the least mentioned. The proportion of mothers who correctly identified fast/difficult breathing as suggestive of pneumonia was similar irrespective of educational status or source of pneumonia information. Conclusion: Mothers’ knowledge of childhood pneumonia is low. Public campaigns on pneumonia should focus on raising awareness about germs as cause of pneumonia, immunization, hand washing and exclusive breastfeeding as potent preventive strategies and fast/difficult breathing as a feature of pneumonia.
Staff publications
Mothers , Childhood pneumonia , Health education , Public campaign , Research Subject Categories::MEDICINE
Ekure EN, Esezobor CI, Balogun B, Mukhtar-Yola M, Ojo OO, Emodi IJ, Omoigberale AI, Oviawe O, Ezechukwu C, Olowu AO, Ogala WN, Esangbedo DO. Mothers and childhood pneumonia: what should the focus of public campaigns be? Niger J Paed 2013; 40 (1): 24-29.