Assessment of the knowledge, attitude and practices related to cutaneous manifestation of micronutrient deficiencies in hair, skin and nails among women aged 18-49 in greater Kampala Metropolitan Area, central Uganda
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Although micronutrients are needed in small amounts by the body, they play numerous significant roles such as enhancing cognitive function, proper growth and development, electrolyte balance, hormone synthesis and regulation, wound healing, bone formation and energy utilisation among others. Micronutrient status is usually assessed by use of biochemical tests, which are not only costly laboratory tests, but also time consuming. Consequently, cutaneous signs of micronutrient deficiency offer a faster and more convenient method of assessment and the knowledge of these signs facilitate the assessment of micronutrient status with ease within households in the community. The aim of this study was to explore the knowledge, attitudes and practices related to the cutaneous manifestation of micronutrient deficiency in hair, skin and nails. It was a descriptive qualitative study using a survey questionnaire. Study participants included women aged 18-49years (n=102 respondents) residing in Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area. The study data was subjected to analyses based on pre-determined themes. Knowledge: 18.6% were highly knowledgeable, 34.3% were moderately knowledgeable, and 36.3% were fairly knowledgeable while 10.8% had poor knowledge about micronutrients and their deficiencies. Findings indicate that whereas 24.5% of the women were found to have negative attitude, 75.5% were found to have a positive attitude towards the role of diet in the prevention of micronutrient deficiency. Practices: The practices influencing the respondents‟ micronutrient statuses included; purchase of food for the household, food preparation and cooking, use of fortified flour and cooking oil, use of iodised salt, alcohol and coffee consumption, and deworming. The average Dietary diversity scores of the respondents were 3.6 and 5.4 for the WDDS and IDDS respectively.