Mothers’ knowledge, beliefs and practices regarding febrile convulsions and home management in Nigeria


Mothers’ knowledge, beliefs and practices regarding febrile convulsions and home management in Nigeria


Background: This study investigated mothers’ knowledge, beliefs and practices regarding febrile convulsion and how it is being managed in homes among women with children under five years (0-5)Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted among 50 women with children with the diagnosis of febrile seizures. Data was collected by the researcher using structured questionnaires. Results: It was found that majority, 35(70%)of the mothers were able to described febrile convulsions as a sickness in children which is exhibited by the child twitching or fitting, with eyes wide opened. Only 25(50%) of the mothers indicated that febrile convulsion is caused by high fever (high body temperature) but could not specify the number of degrees Celsius due to high illiteracy rates amongst women in Ghana. The results also showed that, a substantial number 27 (48%) of the mothers had the belief that febrile convulsion is normally caused by witchcraft and evil spirits while 8 (16%) of the respondents hold beliefs that a sore in the child’s abdomen can cause convulsions. Regarding the home management of febrile convulsions most of the women indicated that tepid sponging the child, bathing the child with cold water; putting spoon in child’s mouth and using traditional herbal preparation to rub all over the child’s body or it into the child’s nostrils. Conclusion: The study concluded that even though majority of mothers have good knowledge about febrile convulsion and its first aid interventions at home, a good number of mothers still have negative beliefs regarding the cause of the condition.


Febrile convulsion in children under five years is a common childhood problem which usually cause anxiety and fear among parents, especially mothers.A febrile convulsion refers to a seizure occurring in infancy or childhood usually between three months and five years of age as a result of elevated body temperature (Jarrett, Fatunde, Osinus and Lagunju, 2012).Studies show that febrile seizures, which are usually caused by infections in children are the single most common seizure type and occur in two to five percent of children younger than age five years with a peak incidence in the second year of life
(Seinfeld and Pellock, 2014;Felipe and Siqueira, 2010; Jones and Jacobsen, 2007). Globally, children with fever and febrile convulsions account for as many as twenty percent of pediatric emergency department visits (Delpisheh, Veisani, Sayehmiri, Fayyazi, 2014; Graneto, 2011; Khazai, Hossein Zadeh, Javadzadeh, 2007).In Sub-Saharan Africa empirical research has shown that about twenty-five to thirty-five percent admissions in paediatric emergency wards are a result of febrile convulsion and febrile related conditions (Jarrett, Fatunde, Osinus and Lagunju, 2012; Eseigbe, Eseigbe

and Adama, 2012). Febrile convulsions, being the most common type of convulsions in children under five years constitute one of the causes of hospital admissions in Nigeria (Nigeria Health Service, 2013).The 2014 Annual Health Performance Reports from the Volta Region indicates that febrile related conditions accounts for thirty to forty percent of admissions among children under five years in the region (Volta Regional Health Annual Reports, 2014). Also, health statistics from the Volta Regional Hospital indicates that febrile conditions in children under five years accounts for about forty to fifty percent of admissions in 2013 (Volta Regional Hospital Annual Reports,2014).

In spite of the above statistics, empirical studies have also shown that parental knowledge of skilful home management of fever and febrile convulsion can prevent about sixty to sixty-five percent of paediatric emergencies resulting from febrile convulsions in health facilities (Graneto, 2011; Karwowska, et al., 2002; Walsh, et al, 2007).The researcher as a nurse who has worked at the paediatric ward and now working at the Out Patient Department of a Regional Hospital, observed that parents with children suffering febrile convulsions bring their children to hospital only when they failed to control the fever and convulsion and, the children are usually brought in critical states. It was also observed that parents applied herbal preparations and onions and concoctions to the febrile children as a way of managing the convulsion at home and have often realized that those interventions do not work and had to resort to medical treatment in a critical state.
In the mist of these beliefs and practices, there is dearth of literature in the area to assess mothers’ knowledge, beliefs and practices regarding home management of febrile convulsion in children under five years in Nigeria, hence the relevance of the investigation into the knowledge, beliefs and practices regarding home management of febrile convulsions amongst nursing mothers of children under five years of age. The purpose of the study was to use the findings of the study to educated parents about home management of febrile convulsion in children under five years