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Paediatrician cautions against dribbling of hot water into babies’ genitals

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Mothers and society must discontinue the old cultural practices of dribbling hot water into the genitiles of babies, Dr. Amma Benin, a Paediatrician at the International Maritime Hospital (IMaH) in Tema, has warned.

She explained that most often some mothers and grandmothers dribble hot water in the private part of the female and the anal of the male in order for the baby to pass stool.

“These actions can cause burns or even major problems to the baby,” she said.

Dr. Benin gave the advice when treating the topic “Cultural practises that affect child health” at the weekly “Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility! A Ghana News Agency initiative aimed at promoting health-related communication and providing a platform for health information dissemination to influence personal health choices through improved health literacy

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Dr. Benin also warned against giving alcoholic beverages and other traditional medicine to babies when they are unable to pass stool, stressing “If your baby cannot pass stool for some time, bring the baby to the hospital because there are medications that will be given to the baby”.

She revealed that babies who were exclusively breastfed for six months did not usually have constipation.

“Normally, babies who are typically given formula tend to have more constipation than babies with exclusive breast feeding.”

Dr. Benin said that though some of the traditional practices in society were harmless, others might be harmful to the baby.

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She encouraged mothers to apply for the National Health Insurance Card for themselves and their babies so that they can get free access to the hospital anytime there is a health issue with their babies.

She also encouraged pregnant women to prioritize anomaly scan sessions, which are conducted to check the well-being of the unborn baby and performed around the 20th week of pregnancy to detect possible defects in the baby the mother is carrying.

Dr. Benin said during the scan, checks on the physical development of the foetus were done, and certain congenital disorders as well as major anatomical abnormalities were also identified.

She said intensive counselling was given to the parents of the unborn baby to prepare their minds for the coming of the baby and mentor them on how to care for it.

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The IMaH Paediatrician cautioned against taking unprescribed medications during pregnancy, stressing that every pregnant woman must consult their gynaecologist and take only drugs prescribed by health officials.

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