Main Article Content
Background. Spinal Bifida is a congenital malformation of the spine that typified defect of the neural tube with devastating neurological, psychosocial and developmental burden to the growing child with associated huge financial burden to the parents, community and the country. Past and present studies have shown strong evidence to indicate that folic acid supplementation during the periconceptional period reduces the occurrence of spinal bifida in children.
Aim. To assess the knowledge, attitude, and practice of use of folic acid during the periconceptional period among women of childbearing age in two rural communities in Edo State, Nigeria.
Materials and methods. A prospective cross-sectional study of 170 women between the ages of 15 and 49 years recruited through a multi-stage sampling technique. The survey instrument was a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire. The data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21 and presented as charts, tables, and associations tested with Chi-square at a statistical level of significance set at p<0.05.
Results. One hundred and twenty-two (71.8%) of the respondents showed good knowledge, 147(86.5%) had a positive attitude, and 106 (62.4%) had a good practice of use of folic acid. There was a statistically significant association between respondents’ age, marital status, level of education, occupation, and their knowledge of the use of folic acid as well as with their attitude towards the use of folic acid. However, the practice was mainly associated with the socio-demographic variable of each household.
Conclusion. The use of folic acid during the perinatal period for the prevention of spinal bifida is found to be absent in about two-fifths of the study population, a number found to be alarming despite the high level of good knowledge and attitude towards the use of folic acid. There is, therefore, an urgent need to step up more advocacy and health education to women of childbearing age to increase the uptake of folic acid for effective reduction of the incidence of spinal bifida.