Awareness and uptake of pre-conceptional genotype screening among pregnant women in South-South Nigeria

Submitted: 22 March 2023
Accepted: 22 May 2023
Published: 7 September 2023
Abstract Views: 296
PDF: 228
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Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is an inheritable genetic disease occurring worldwide. Nigeria is regarded as the epicenter of the disease, with a high number of SCD babies born annually. The risk of having an SCD baby remains high once there is a union between two heterozygous couple; therefore, it is imperative for intending couples to know their genotypes before marriage and conception. Currently, it is only the churches that insist on genotype before marriage. The result subsequently is a marriage between a heterozygous couple with a high possibility of the birth of an SCD baby. This cross-sectional study surveyed 430 consecutive consenting antenatal clinic clients presenting for booking in Central Hospital, Agbor, Delta State, Nigeria. The women completed a questionnaire with sections on sociodemographic attributes, awareness of their SCD and their genotype, awareness of their partner’s genotype, source of information, and ways to improve uptake of preconception genotype screening. The age range 25-34 years constituted 68.1% of the study population, with the majority of them (95.1%) of the Christian faith. Married women form 90.1% of the participants. Only 55.1% of the participants were aware of their genotype before conception. Higher education, being a Christian, marital status, and the type of marriage significantly affected patients’ awareness of their genotype. The majority of them heard about genotype screening from a health professional (30.5%), while the commonest reasons why many of them did genotype screening were for school admission 13.3%, for knowledge’s sake (12.1%) and as a requirement for marriage (24.7%). Some of the ways suggested to help increase the uptake of genotype screening include community meetings, text and WhatsApp messages, television and radio messages. Despite the fact that Nigeria remains the epicenter of SCD in the world, the uptake of preconception genotype screening is still low. The government, health workers, churches and marriage counselors, and the community have a major role to play in increasing the awareness and uptake of preconception genotype screening.

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How to Cite

Maduka, N. R., & Okubor, P. O. (2023). Awareness and uptake of pre-conceptional genotype screening among pregnant women in South-South Nigeria. Annals of Clinical and Biomedical Research, 4(2). https://doi.org/10.4081/acbr.2023.324