ASSESSMENT OF KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE OF PERICONCEPTIONAL FOLIC ACID SUPPLEMENTATION (PFAS) AMONG CHILDBEARING AGE WOMEN (18-45YEARS) ATTENDING ANTENATAL CLINICS IN ENUGU, NIGERIA ()
This study investigated folate (B9) supplementation in the periconceptional period. The general objective of the study was to assess knowledge and practice of periconceptional folic acid supplementation and its health implications, among women of reproductive age in Enugu metropolis of Enugu State, Nigeria. The study was carried out from April to July 2011 in six major antenatal clinics (3 private, 3 public) in Enugu metropolis. They were visited twice weekly till a sample size of seventy was obtained from each facility. At the end of the study after distribution of 420 questionnaires, 389 of the respondents presented analyzable data representing 98.2% of the calculated sample size. The questionnaire was coded and entered into the computer using epi info version 3.5. The data was subsequently analyzed using SPSS version 17.
Approximately 83% of the respondents had heard of folic acid and only 36.7% of them knew it was a vitamin. About sixteen percent (16.4%) knew that folate could prevent neural tube defects (NTDs) and a few (0.08%) knew the recommended daily intake for periconceptional supplementation purpose. Knowledge of correct timing of folate supplementation was exhibited in 10.0% of the respondents. However, a few (2.8%) had taken it prior to conception. Doctors (52%) were the most common source of information for the respondents and Nutritionists/Dietitians followed with 7.6%. Majority of the respondents (88.6%) took folate in their present pregnancy, though about 70.3% of them took it daily. The women had made very little adjustments in their diet to increase daily folate intake. A 24 hour dietary recall and food frequency data confirmed this observation. Hemoglobin (Hb) values ranged from 8-14g/dl. About 50% of the respondents had Hb values of ≤11g/dl which is a strong indication of nutritional anemia. Education, more than age or parity (P < 0.001) influenced knowledge of folate usage in pregnancy.