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Promotion of breast feeding in the community: Impact of health education programme in rural communities in Nigeria

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Davies-Adetugbo, A. A. (1996). "Promotion of breast feeding in the community: Impact of health education programme in rural communities in Nigeria." Journal of Diarrhoeal Diseases Research 14(1): 5-11.

Objective: Breast feeding has been recognized as a child survival strategy, while breast feeding programmmes have been increasingly implemented in many communities. This study assesses the effectiveness of a breast feeding education programme launched through the primary health care programme in the rural communities of Nigeria.

Methods: Late trimester pregnant women were enrolled into the study and given a questionnaire on knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) about breast feeding. Women in the study group (n=126) received breast feeding counselling before and after delivery, while those in control group (n=130) did not receive any counselling. Both groups were monitored after delivery and followed with the KAP questionnaire.

Results: The results of the study showed marked improvements in the intervention group for colostrum feeding (p=0.0000). Moreover, 31.6% of the mothers in the intervention group practised timely initiation of breast feeding compared to 5.6% of the controls, and the prevalence of exclusive breast feeding at 4 months was 39.8% in the intervention group compared to 13.9% for the controls. Multivariate analysis showed that the intervention was a powerful and the only significant predictor of the increase in breast feeding behaviours (p=0.0000), and that an early initiation of breast feeding is a strong predictor of exclusive breast feeding at 4 months of age. It is concluded that breast feeding promotion in rural communities is feasible and can lead to behavioural changes. 

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