n South African Journal of Surgery - Colostomy in children - an evaluation of acceptance among mothers and caregivers in a developing country : paediatric surgery

Volume 44, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0038-2361
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5151



<I>Background.</I> Colostomy is a common procedure performed in children, mostly for anorectal malformation and Hirschsprung's disease. However, acceptance by parents in developing countries is thought to be poor. <br><I>Methods.</I> A prospective evaluation was done to determine the acceptability of colostomy among parents and caregivers, and their attitude towards colostomy in their children. <br><I>Results.</I> During the period January 1999 - January 2004 a structured questionnaire was administered to 57 parents and caregivers of children with colostomies (41 boys and 16 girls). The indication for colostomy was anorectal malformation in 28 children and Hirschsprung's disease in 29. The length of time the children had the colostomy ranged from 3 weeks to 8 years. Forty-four respondents (77%) found the colostomy and its management acceptable. Thirteen (23%) found the colostomy unacceptable, mainly because of a feeling of social isolation. Problems the respondents complained of included disturbing smell (17, 30%), frequent change of the cloth napkin used as colostomy appliance (15, 26%) and intermittent bleeding from the stoma (4, 7%). <br><I>Conclusions.</I> Colostomy in children is acceptable to most parents in our environment. Although some parents found it unacceptable, adequate explanation and counselling may modify their view.

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