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Introduction and Objectives: There has been a gradual decline in interest in postmortem audit worldwide despite the enormous potential value of the autopsies. In many paediatric centres across Nigeria, there is no policy providing the use of autopsy statistics in the main business of paediatric practice or as a means of assessing a centres’ performance. Even where such a policy exists, there is no compelling law for the incorporation of the statistics into daily paediatric practice. This study set out to survey the attitude and perception of child healthcare practitioners in Nigeria towards post-mortem examination in improving patients care.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was done on participants attending a paediatric conference in Abuja, Nigeria. There were 250 respondents, who cut across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, consisting of paediatric consultants, residents and nurses. The study was done using self-administered questionnaires and data analysed using SPSS version 20.
Results: All (100%) participants believed autopsy practice was valuable and had a positive effect on medical practice. Sixteen (6.4%) respondents never request for autopsies, 120 (48.0%) respondents request for it rarely, 34 (13.6%) make a request often while 10 (4%) request for autopsies very often. Eighty-four (33.6%) respondents have never attended an autopsy session. The interval between autopsies and issuance of reports ranges from 0-3 weeks (48.0%) to > 6 weeks (8.8%). The usual indications for requesting for autopsies include knowing the cause of death (85%), inability to arrive at a clinical diagnosis antemortem (71.2%) and improving clinical diagnosis skill and patient care (60.0%).
Conclusion: Autopsy practice is useful in paediatric practice but it is rarely requested for and infrequently attended by the child healthcare practitioner. There is a need to change the attitude and perception of all healthcare workers in paediatric practice through proper orientation and education.
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