Assessing women’s knowledge on the importance of Echography in pregnancy in women attending ANC at the muea health center
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This chapter will present the background of obstetric ultrasonography, statement problem, Research goals, the research questions, and objectives.
1.1 Background of the Study
Obstetric ultrasonography is the use of medical ultrasound in pregnancy in which sound waves are used to create real-time visual images of the developing embryo or fetus in the mother’s uterus. The procedure is a standard part of prenatal care in many countries, as it can provide a variety of information about the health of the mother, the timing and progress of the pregnancy, and the health and development of the embryo or fetus.
The international society of ultrasound in obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that pregnant women have routine obstetric ultrasounds between 18 weeks and 22 weeks of gestational age to confirm pregnancy timing, to measure the fetus so that growth abnormalities can be recognized quickly later in pregnancy, and to diagnose congenital malformations and multiple pregnancies (Twins). (Salomo, et al,2010) Additionally, The ISUOG recommends that pregnant women have obstetric ultrasounds between 11 weeks and 13 weeks 6 days gestational age in countries with resources to perform them (The nuchal scan). Performing an ultrasound at this early stage of pregnancy can more accurately confirm the timing of the pregnancy and can also diagnose multiple fetuses and major congenital abnormalities at an earlier stage (Salomon, et al, 2013) Research shows that routine obstetric ultrasound before 24 weeks gestational age can significantly reduce the risk of failing to recognize multiple gestations and can improve pregnancy dating to reduce the risk of labour induction for post-dates pregnancy. There is no difference, however in perinatal death or poor outcomes for babies (Whitworth, Bricker, and Mullan, 2015)
Ultrasonography (Also known as ultrasound) is vital for the health care of the woman. Most women in Cameroon are still ignorant of the value of the tool, especially those in rural areas. Many factors such as level of education, cost of purchasing and training sonographers, low level of development, government policies, training of medical health care workers, insufficient infrastructures are all seen to influence the knowledge of Cameroon women on ultrasound.
Medical Imaging is indispensable for successful medical practice. It embodies various imaging modalities, with ultrasonography also known as ultrasound being one of them. The use of ultrasound (US) was introduced in the 1950s as a medical tool. Ultrasonography is a medical diagnostic imaging modality, which uses sound waves of frequency greater than 20 kilohertz (20 kHz) sound waves are non-ionizing radiations unlike X-ray, gamma rays, alpha particles, or neutrons. Ultrasound is being generated with the help of the ultrasound machine, using the piezoelectric principle (Kathryn,2014).
The medical application of ultrasound is varied, ranging from obstetric and Gynecological ultrasound scans breast ultrasound in women to testicular, thyroid, abdominopelvic Doppler cardiac, and musculoskeletal ultrasound; Diagnosing a wide variety of diseases such as cystic lesions, fibroids, masses, abscesses collection, to mention the few. US use is generally up to date considered to be safe and has tremendous benefits to a woman considering their physiologic and also radiation effects related issues (Kathryn,2014).
Ultrasound use in a woman is dominant in the areas of obstetrics and gynaecology, breast imaging, and also musculoskeletal, thoracic, and abdominal imaging, woman can do an ultrasound scan to diagnose lumps in the breast, to evaluate pregnancy status (Obstetrics) to evaluate the pelvic organs and the related structures in the pelvis. (Joshua al,2013). The benefits and rationale for the wide advocate of ultrasound use in a woman are because ultrasound use is relatively cheap and easily affordable and accessible, ultrasound scans are done in real-time, there is no use of ionizing radiations such as X-Rays with side effects, sectional images obtained give detailed information about the structure scanned. Requires minimal patient preparations such as a filled urinary bladder for the pelvic US and will also effectively diagnose soft tissue problems better than two-dimensional plain radiography. (Kathryn 2014).
Despite these numerous benefits of ultrasound in women, studies reveal that ultrasound awareness among women in Cameroon remains low. This ignorance among women cuts across many African countries. Such ignorance has been associated with potential consequences. Based on a study conducted by Joshua et al.2013, out of a total of 200 women who were interviewed, 33 respondents (16.8%) on a total of 196 declared that they have never done a US scan, 19(58.4%) on a total of 190 confessed haven’t received any information on what ultrasound is all about. About 34 women considered ultrasound to be unsafe as they believe that, ultrasound uses x-rays which can cause cancer. This revealed that most women in Cameroon are ignorant of the use of ultrasound. It is equally worth noting that in this study, most women were within the age group of 25-29 years. (Joshua al,2013).
Furthermore, based on the World Bank reports of 2014, concerning Cameroon, approximately 10% of youths in Cameroon lack formal education. A total of 30% of youths between the ages of 15-24 years have not completed primary education and only 1% have completed secondary school, meanwhile, 55% are secondary school dropouts. Education is vital because it exposes people to knowledge that can influence the view women have about healthcare. This gross ignorance has contributed to many complications in pregnancies such as stillbirths, fetal malformation, infertility due to fibroids in women’s uterus, breast cancer, all clinical conditions that can be effectively and safely evaluated on ultrasound. Besides these consequences are broken relationships, frustration, unnecessary operations in these women and in some cases death. (Alfred, et al,2014).
1.2 Statement of the problem
Most pregnant women who suffer from complications during labour and delivery due to a short cervix, inadequate pelvic, preterm which if they had gone for an echography it would have been diagnosed and appropriate management has given immediately. Couple with the fact that they are not educated and don’t have any idea of what an echography is all about while others are aware and don’t have the means to go for an echography due to poverty and some peer pressure while others think it’s a waste of money and others says it is harmful to the fetus since x-ray is used (Joshua, 2013). This knowledge gap motivated me the writer of this opinion paper whose main aim is to document ultrasound awareness among women, with hopes that its outcome would positively influence policies in Cameroon, regarding the healthcare of women.
1.3 Research Goal
The findings of this research project will raise the awareness of health care providers to enhance the education of women on the importance of echography in other to reduce the risk of pregnancy complications thereby reducing maternal and neonatal mortality rates.
1.4 Research Questions
- Do women know what echography is all about?
- Do they know the importance of echography?
- What factors hinder the women from doing echography when requested at the ANC?
1.5 Research Objectives
1.5.1 General Objectives.
- To find out the knowledge of pregnant women on the importance of echography
1.5.2 Specific Objectives:
- To find out the knowledge of pregnant women about echography
- To investigate if pregnant women know the importance of echography
- To assess factors that hinder them from doing echography