Helping babies survive: Thermal and umbilical cord care practices for neonates in Ado-Ekiti, Southern Nigeria

Oluwaseyi A. Akpor, Faridat A. Akinrinade, Nafisat Hussaini, Risikat I. Fadare, Funmilola T. Ojo, Agatha O. Ogunkorode, Ebunlomo O. Omiyale


Newborn care practices immediately after delivery can decrease newborns’ risk of diseases and death in early neonatal life. This study assessed thermal and umbilical cord care practices among mothers in randomly selected health care facilities in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. Descriptive quantitative research design was used and 211 mothers were selected through convenience sampling techniques. Semi-structured questionnaire, adapted from a previous study was utilized to collect data which was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The majority of the respondents were Yoruba aged 20-29 years; 70% of the respondents were aware of the standard cord care practice; 90% agreed that heat should be applied to the newborn’s umbilical cord. 70.5% of mothers used methylated spirit to clean the umbilical cord; 39.5% claimed that they used menthol ointment; while 20.5% used the standard prescribed chlorhexidine. On thermal care practices, 10% dried their babies, 39.5% bathed their babies immediately, while 50% of mothers wrapped their newborns in heavy clothing. Factors influencing common thermal and umbilical cord care include religion and cultural preferences. Efforts should be devoted towards providing tailored health education approaches on proper thermal and umbilical cord care practices to mothers and the community at large

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