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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 22-25

Cultural beliefs and attitudes: The psychosocial and economic problems associated with goiter and thyroidectomy in an African population


1 Department of Surgery, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria
2 Department of Educational Foundation and Management, Olabisi Onabannjo University, Ago Iwoye, Nigeria
3 Department of Behavioural Science, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Abdus-Samiu Adewale Musa
Endocrine and Biliary Surgical Unit, University of Ilorin/University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, PMB 1459, Ilorin
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-0354.124191

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Objective: To evaluate the effects of cultural beliefs and attitudes on goiter and thyroidectomy and assess their psychosocial and economic implications on patients. Patients and Methods : In a 3-year period, between January 2008 and December 2011, a total of 65 patients were randomly selected and interviewed by using an interviewer administered questionnaire in our surgical outpatient department. Standard expressions and explanations in English and local dialects were used. Results: The patients consisted of 60 females and 5 males with a male to female ratio 1:12. Age range was 20-69 years. Major ethnic groups were Yoruba 60%, Ibo 20%, and Hausa 8%. Most of the patients, 72% believed goiter was caused by poison from witchcraft/devil and only 10% have the true knowledge of causes of goiter. In 60%, the most common psychosocial problem was exploitation by the traditional healers (THs), 15% were withdrawn and 12% were apprehensive. About 88% could not afford surgical bill until 2-7 months after initial hospital attendance. Failure of trado-medical treatment and cosmetics were the reasons for advancement in 44 patients for seeking orthodox medical services. In 16 patients, thyroidectomy was successful because neighbors encouraged them to come to hospital, while in 9 patients, it was a result of health education (HE) from electronic media, and in 3 patients, it was because of toxicity and malignant transformation. Formal education had some influence on the attitudes of patients toward goiter and modified their behavior and cultural beliefs. Conclusion: Goiter is believed by some patients to be one of psychic and psychosomatic disorders as a result of cultural beliefs and attitudes. Hence, trado-medical treatments are sought to cure it to no avail. This eventually inflicts a lot of psychosocial and economic problems on patients. HE and medical services need to be improved upon.


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