Knowledge of, and attitudes to, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) among traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in rural communities in Cross River State, Nigeria

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AimTo survey knowledge of, and attitudes to, HIV/AIDS held by traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in rural communities in Cross River State, Nigeria.BackgroundAs the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to spread, undermining development, reversing health gains and exacerbating poverty, TBAs in rural communities in Cross River State, Nigeria are still less informed about this dreadful disease.MethodsA survey consisting of structured questionnaires was used with 140 randomly selected TBAs to assess their knowledge of HIV/AIDS, source of information on HIV and protective practices.FindingsResults revealed that 62 (44.3%) of the TBAs had no formal education. Forty-four (31.4%) had primary education, while 19 (13.6%) had secondary education. On knowledge of HIV and sources of information, 49 (35.0%) of respondents reported knowing what HIV means. While 26.4% indicated that they received information about HIV from the government health centres, 23.6% had no information about the disease. There was a great disparity between male (73.7%) and female (28.9%) respondents on knowledge about HIV. On the use of protective safety procedures during delivery, 61 (43.6%) used sterilized blades, while 10.7% admitted wearing protective clothes and gloves. Only three (2.1%) of the respondents said that they were aware of the HIV status of their clients prior to delivery.ConclusionsThis survey has demonstrated that few TBAs in the communities studied in Cross River State are informed about HIV/AIDS, and this has revealed the urgency of starting a programme specifically designed for TBAs in rural communities towards a massive educational campaign on HIV/AIDS.

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