Evaluation of knowledge and of effects of haemolytic disease of the newborn amongst postnatal women in the public hospitals of the Umgungundlovu district
Khumalo, Gugulethu Eve
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The purpose of the study was to evaluate knowledge and effects of Haemolytic Disease of the Newborn (HDN) in postnatal women from the Umgungundlovu District. Although the prevalence of HDN has declined because of prophylaxis from 45 cases per 10,000 births to 10.2 cases per 10,000 births but it is still a cause of infant and neonatal morbidity and mortality. The effects of the disease range from jaundice, kernicterus and in severe cases death. Methodology : An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to obtain information about the knowledge and effects of HDN amongst postnatal women. The incidence rate was calculated using the number of cases that were found divided by the total number of deliveries during the study period. A total of 300 women were interviewed. SPSS version 19.0 was used to analyse data. Findings : Fifteen (15) of the 300 women had babies with confirmed HDN and only four of the 15 (26%) women had knowledge of HDN. Two hundred and eighty five women had babies with jaundice but were not affected by HDN and, of these women, 12 (4.2%) of them knew what HDN was. Overall, only 16 (5.3%) knew what HDN was. All 15 women who had babies with HDN indicated financial and emotional effects because of HDN. The total incidence was 0.09% for the first 12 months of the study period. Conclusion : Postnatal women with jaundiced babies lack knowledge of HDN and HDN has financial and emotional effects on these women. Although the incidence rate of HDN was found to be even smaller than previously reported, it still exists and threatens the lives of infants and neonates.