Abstract

Objective: Culture is the way of life of a people; and is an integral component of their day-to-day existence. It influences the daily routine of a people, including their diet, dressing, religious disposition, and surprisingly, the degree to which orthodox medical practices impact their daily lives. Appreciating underlying cultural context will help health care workers influence patient's perceptions, especially where cultural practices are not in tandem with medical best practices. This is important, for example, in administration of informed consent for surgery. This study explored cultural beliefs of patients in relation to some common maxillofacial practices in Kano, Nigeria.
Methods: Patient's perceptions on oral cancers, use of nasogastric tubes, and tooth extraction was conducted amongst patients attending maxillofacial outpatient clinic of a tertiary Nigerian hospital from January to December 2015 using a non-structured, interviewer-administered questionnaire.
Results: Seventy-seven (77) patients were surveyed (52 males and 25 females), with ages ranging from 16 to 75 years. Most were aged 51-60 years (44.2%). Only 6.5% of respondents had higher than secondary education. Responses to the aetiology and treatment of oral cancers, use of nasogastric tubes for maxillofacial surgery patients and extraction of teeth showed cultural perceptions usually at variance with medical best practices.
Conclusion: Patients' expectations and fears of maxillofacial surgery procedures are affected by their cultural beliefs. Proper acceptance of this, combined with targeted education and counselling may enhance patient's co-operation and acceptance of necessary surgical procedures when orthodox medical care is sought.