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Knowledge and practice of exclusive breast feeding: Effects of health promotion intervention in Nigeria

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Nwosu, U. M. and R. A. Eke (2011). "Knowledge and practice of exclusive breast feeding: Effects of health promotion intervention in Nigeria." Sadece anne sütü, bilgi ve uygulamasi: Nijerya'da saǧliǧin teşviki uygulamasinin etkileri 10(6): 657-664.

AIM: Low level of knowledge and practice of exclusive breast feeding have been reported in Nigeria especially in rural communities. The purpose of this study is to identify factors contributing to low knowledge and practice of exclusive breast feeding (E B F) in rural communities of Abia State, Nigeria and apply health promotion intervention (H P I) to address these factors in order to increase knowledge and practice of E B F.

METHOD: A quasi-experimental study design was used. Four communities formed the unit of allocation to experimental and control groups for the purpose of introducing health promotion intervention. A multi-stage sampling procedure was used in selecting the study sample. A sample size of 400 households out of 1978 enumerated from the four communities was used for the survey, two as experimental and two as control. Data were collected using a pretested structured questionnaire that was interviewer administered. Data were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. Chi-square and Mc Nemar statistic were used in determining statistical significance. Analysis of knowledge and practice of EBF was taken before and after H P I and compared in both experimental and control groups.

RESULTS: The results indicated increase in knowledge of E B F from 28(14%) to 200(98.5%). Correspondingly, practice of E B F increased from 21 (10%) to 162(80%) in the experimental group. No significant increase was made in the control group both in knowledge and practice of EBF. Factors contributing to low level of practice of EBF in the study area included low level of knowledge about ten steps to successful breast feeding, illusory fears about EBF, ignorance, resistance to change, cultural imperatives and medical reasons. Health promotion intervention directed at the rural women helped to scale up the practice of EBF to 70% within nine months.

CONCLUSION: The study recommends health promotion intervention as a proven method for scaling up knowledge and practice of EBF in rural communities.

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