Abstract

Introduction Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are a public health problem in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and cover a range of infections, from the common cold to pneumonia. ARIs are the leading cause of death in children under-5, with the majority of deaths occurring in developing countries. Objective To assess the knowledge and home-based practices used by mothers of children under-fives during episodes of ARI. Methods A cross-sectional study was carried out among mothers of children under-five who were selected in Lubumbashi (DRC). A pre-tested questionnaire administered by researchers was used for data collection. Results Of the 582 mothers interviewed, the majority had a good knowledge of the symptoms (87.46%), danger signs of severe ARIs (95.02%) and a good knowledge of the modes of transmission of ARIs (68.73%). Knowledge level was significantly associated with age and education level regarding modes of transmission. Three hundred and sixty-eight (63.23%) mothers indicated that they use traditional remedies: 252 (43.30%) apply palm oil to their children’s noses and as many mothers (n = 252; 43.30%) apply mentholatum ointment to the nose. Almost all of the mothers (n = 579; 99.48%) indicated that they dress the child with several layers of clothes. Oral self-medication was used by 575 mothers (98.80%). Conclusion The mothers’ knowledge of modes of transmission, symptoms and danger signs of ARIs was good in the community studied in Lubumbashi. Knowledge level was associated with age and level of education regarding modes of transmission.

Keywords

• acute respiratory infection • child • maternal knowledge • maternal practices