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Study on neural tube defects of neonates and folic acid awareness at a Teaching Hospital in Sri Lanka

Authors:

N N Dissanayake ,

Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, LK
About N N

Paediatric Registrar, Teaching Hospital Kandy

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S C Wickramasinghe,

Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians, LK
About S C
Consultant Paediatrician, Teaching Hospital Kandy
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D M W H Bandara

Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, LK
About D M W H
Neonatal Medical Officer, Teaching Hospital Kandy
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Abstract

Objectives: To assess awareness and knowledge of folic acid (FA), educate about importance of using of pre-conceptional FA, find out the common source of information about FA and identify some epidemiological characteristics of neural tube defects (NTDs)

Setting: Teaching Hospital, Kandy

Method: A case control study was carried out for 17 months from July 2002 of all newborns with NTDs delivered at General Hospital (GH) Kandy and newborns with NTDs transferred from other hospitals. An age and sex matched group of babies born at GH Kandy with no obvious abnormalities was selected as the control. To increase statistical confidence we took 3 controls for 1 case. A pre-tested questionnaire was administered to obtain data. While interviewing, we counselled all mothers about value of pre-conceptional FA usage.

Results: During the study period 14,580 live births took place at GH Kandy and twenty of them had NTDs. The number of babies with NTDs transferred from other hospitals was 30. The control group comprised 150 mothers with normal babies. Fourteen (28%) of the affected group were able to identify folic acid tablet as a vitamin taken during pregnancy, in comparison to 87 (58%) of the control group. One (2%) from the affected group and 70 (46%) from the control group knew about the value of pre-conceptional FA. None of the affected mothers had used FA pre-conceptionally whereas 20 (13%) of the control group had used it. Four (8%) of the affected mothers identified preventing birth defects as the primary reason to take FA whereas 54 (26%) of the control group mothers believed that folic acid helped in preventing birth defects. Awareness of FA usage came mainly from midwives.

Conclusions: Knowledge and use of FA in relation to pregnancy were grossly inadequate especially among mothers who had affected babies.

Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 2010; 39:11-16

(Key words: Neural tube defects, NTDs, folic acid, awareness of folic acid)

doi: 10.4038/sljch.v39i1.1628


 


 


How to Cite: Dissanayake, N.N., Wickramasinghe, S.C. and Bandara, D.M.W.H., 2010. Study on neural tube defects of neonates and folic acid awareness at a Teaching Hospital in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 39(1), pp.11–16. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljch.v39i1.1628
Published on 09 Mar 2010.
Peer Reviewed

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