In developing countries umbilical cord infections constitute a major cause of neonatal morbidity and pose significant risk for mortality Methods of caring for the umbilical cord vary greatly between communities depending on their cultural and religious beliefs, level of education and resources. The risk of cord infection is increased by unhygienic cutting of the cord and application of unclean substances. This study examined the cord management practices and management outcome among mothers in Calabar South Local Government Area of Cross River State, Nigeria. Methods: A cross sectional community-based study was conducted in Calabar South Local Government Area of Cross River State, Nigeria. Calabar South is one of the two Local Government Areas that make up Calabar Metropolis with 11 wards. Women of child bearing age were used as population of the study. A sample size of 451 mothers was selected using the snowball method. A structured pre-tested interviewer administered questionnaire was used to collect data. Data were analyzed descriptively using frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviation. All analyses were performed using SPSS version 18.0 at 95% confidence interval. Results: Whereas most of the respondents 224(49.8%) used methylated spirit in cleaning the cord, others used dettol 88(19.6%), saliva and salt 44(9.8%), herbal preparations 44(9.8%). Most of the respondents 314 (69.8%) applied unhygienic substances at the base of the stump after cleaning the cord. Main reason for choice of materials includes to wade off evil spirits and hasten cord separation 270(55.9%). The outcome of cord management showed that majority of the umbilical cords were infected 338 (75.1 %.). Conclusion: Majority of the respondents applied harmful and contaminated materials/ substances to the umbilical cord. Good umbilical cord care practices can lead to improved newborn care while poor umbilical cord care practices may result in neonatal morbidity and mortality. Improving the standard of umbilical cord care among mothers can largely be achieved through health education and follow up visits by nurses after discharge from the health facility.
Keywords: Calabar, Management outcome, Mothers, Nigeria, Umbilical cord care