Paediatrician advises parents not to keep babies totally indoors before outdooring

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Christmas Babies
Christmas Babies

Keeping babies inside rooms for eight days before bringing them in the open would not help to detect neonatal jaundice, Dr. Amma Benin, a paediatrician at the International Maritime Hospital (IMaH) Tema, has said.

Dr Benin said this when treating the topic “Cultural Practices that Affect Child Health” on the Ghana News Agency-Tema “Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility,” a weekly health advocacy platform aimed at exploring the parameters of the four approaches to health communication.

She stated jaundice in babies often occurs within the first eight days of birth, which also coincides with the traditional beliefs of keeping babies indoors for the first eight days after birth for spiritual reasons.

She explained that because of the practice, parents find it difficult to identify early signs of jaundice in their babies, which include the child having yellow discoloration of their eyes and skin.

She added that because of the low light in the rooms, it would be difficult to detect the condition early, putting the child’s life in danger as the condition could cause deformities and even deaths, hence the need to immediately report to the hospital when detected.

Dr Benin indicated that between 60 and 80 percent of all neonatal will get jaundice as it comes out of the normal process that transcends the babies from the womb to the world.

She said when in the womb, the mother’s body helps remove high haemoglobin from the baby’s system, but after birth, the high haemoglobin levels not needed must be removed solely by their systems.

According to her, the body creates a yellowish substance (bilirubin) when the red blood cells break, which must be removed by the liver, but some of the babies’ bodies were unable to get rid of the excess bilirubin, leading to jaundice.

Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Manager, stressed the need for documentation of our traditional practices that are helpful for the development of society.

He noted that due to the lack of documentation, “our society is losing some of the potent and crucial cultural practices from generation to generation…As one generation narrates to the next, some element in the message gets truncated.”

The GNA Tema Regional Manager noted “we need to understand traditional systems, why certain things were done in a certain way, what are the elements within which to operate, and many more things in order to operate in the modern environment.

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