Puerto Rican primary physicians' knowledge about folic acid supplementation for the prevention of neural tube defects.Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2003 Dec; 67(12):971-3.BD
We conducted a study of a group of primary physicians in Puerto Rico to evaluate their knowledge about folic acid supplementation to prevent neural tube defects.
The study design was transverse-correlational. A total of 66 primary physicians in two hospitals (public and private) participated in the study. The sample was nonrandom and opportunistic, and only those physicians present in the hospitals at the moment of distribution of the questionnaires participated. A self-administered and anonymous questionnaire was used. Descriptive statistics and cross-tabular analysis were used to describe the results of this study. Inferential statistics were also used, including Chi square and t-tests to establish the associations/differences between physician knowledge and the independent variables.
Of the participants, 87.9% demonstrated an inadequate knowledge about folic acid supplementation for the prevention of neural tube defects as part of preconception care and only 12.1% demonstrated adequate knowledge. Older physicians had greater knowledge about folic acid. Also, women demonstrated greater knowledge about folic acid than did men. Most of the physicians who always recommend supplementation to their patients demonstrated a greater knowledge about folic acid, and all participants with adequate knowledge came from the public hospital.
Despite a concerted effort by the Health Department of Puerto Rico to provide education in the importance of folic acid supplementation to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects, primary physicians in two Puerto Rican hospitals generally have not availed themselves of this training and showed a lack of knowledge on this important clinical issue.