Assessing the prevalence and risk factors of neural tube defects at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi
Neural tube defect (NTD) is caused by folic acid deficiency, hereditary, lifestyle, environmental factors and chromosomal abnormalities, and among others it is a remarkable public health burden. However, the documented Ghana health literature is devoid of research studies on prevalence and causes of NTD in Kumasi Metropolis. This study therefore assessed the prevalence and risk factors of NTD at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi. The participants in this study were mothers of both live babies with and without NTDs born between the period of January, 2012 to December, 2016. The study collected both primary and secondary data from 65 mothers of babies born with NTD and 65 mothers of babies born without NTD at the Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) of KATH. The secondary data were collected from the medical records of the babies with NTD and their mothers while primary data were collected through administration of structured questionnaire. The data were analyzed quantitatively with the help of SPSS version 21.0. The study found out that the prevalence of NTD at KATH was 2.63 per 1000. The commonest type of NTD diagnosed was Meningocele. As mothers advanced in age the likelihood of neural tube defects significantly decreases. Mothers in urban communities had significantly less likelihood to give birth to babies with neural tube defects than mothers in rural communities. Single mothers had higher likelihood of giving birth to babies with neural tube defects than married mothers. Mothers with lower educational level had higher likelihood of giving birth to babies with neural tube defects. Folic acid intake before pregnancy (one year before pregnancy) reduced the likelihood of giving birth to babies with neural tube defects. Mothers in the test group were diagnosed of anaemia and eclampsia more than mothers in the controlled group. Gestational diabetic mothers exposed to smoke from firewood and anemic mothers living in dusty environment had highly significant likelihood of giving birth to babies with NTD. Pregnant women should be educated on nutrition and healthy life style at healthcare facilities as part of their antenatal. Pregnant women should also be made aware of their risk factors to help them know how to interact with the environment to prevent the occurrence of NTDs. Ministry of Health should further embark on massive folic acid intake education to help reduce the occurrence of NTDs.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science in Human Nutrition And Dietetics (IDL)
Neural tube defects, KATH