Ibadan - A paediatrician, Prof. Olugbenga Akinyinka, has called on nursing mothers to ensure proper care of their babies’ umbilical cords after delivery to stem the increasing cases of tetanus infection on them.
Akinyinka, who is the Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, told newsmen on Wednesday in Ibadan that there was an increase in the cases of tetanus in newborn babies at the hospital.
He, however, advised mothers to stop the practice of applying items like yam flour, cow dung and some other unhygienic solutions on babies’ cords, adding that such practices exposed the child to contracting tetanus.
Akinyinka, who said that tetanus in newborn babies was preventable, noted that an average of three new babies were brought to the hospital every week due to tetanus infection.
"Mothers need to be discouraged from applying just anything on their babies’ cords. Immunising both mother and children as well as discouraging harmful practices that encourage tetanus is important in stemming the problem," he said.
In his speech, Prof. Samuel Omokhodion, head of the Department of Paediatrics, University College Hospital, Ibadan, said that health centres in Africa recorded zero cases of tetanus because they did not apply unhygienic instruments on their babies.
He lamented that many newborns brought in with tetanus ended up dying because they were brought in late to the hospital.
"The chances that a new baby with tetanus will survive depends on the stage the baby was presented at the hospital.
"The chances of survival are better when care starts early. Imagine the cost of care for something that is preventable. Imagine a new mother having to sit in an emergency room for a child that cannot suck.
"The best way to clean the cord is for a mother to clean the surface with clean water using cotton wool,’’ Omokhodion advised.