BACKGROUND: \"False teeth\" (Ebiino) and \"Millet disease\" (Oburo, Tea-tea) have been reported in Uganda and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. These two perceived diseases are commonly reported in children under-five years of age. Anecdotal and published evidence suggests that these conditions are associated with moderate to severe childhood diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea and that most health seeking behaviour for the conditions is from traditional healers.
OBJECTIVES: To estimate how common the 2 perceived diseases (false teeth and millet disease) are and describe health seeking behaviour for the two diseases.
METHODS: We did a cross-sectional survey using an interviewer administered questionnaire with closed and open questions in Bushenyi district, Uganda. The participants included 215 heads of households or their spouses obtained by cluster random sampling of 30 villages. Participants answered questions regarding occurrence of false teeth and millet disease in the household, treatment sought for false teeth and millet disease, perceived causes of false teeth and millet disease and about social economic situation of the household.
RESULTS: More than one in two of the households had a child less than five years who suffered from false teeth or millet disease in the last five years. More than 80% of the respondents used traditional medicine alone or in combination with modern medicine to treat false teeth and or millet disease. Occurrence of false teeth and millet disease were favoured by low education status and not living in a house with cemented floor or having a brick wall. Use of traditional medicine was not associated with social economic conditions.
CONCLUSIONS: The frequency of the perceived diseases false teeth and millet disease is high and may be attributed to low access to preventive and curative health services.
African Health Sciences (2007) 7 (1) 25-32