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Adherence to WHO breastfeeding guidelines among HIV positive mothers in Southern Ethiopia: implication for intervention

Authors Haile D, Setegn T, Biadgilign S

Received 6 February 2015

Accepted for publication 24 March 2015

Published 12 June 2015 Volume 2015:6 Pages 87—92


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Laurens Holmes, Jr

Demewoz Haile,1 Tesfaye Setegn,2 Sibhatu Biadgilign3

1Department of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Madawalabu University, Bale Goba, Ethiopia; 2Department of Reproductive Health, School of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia; 3Independent Public Health Research Consultants, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Background: Breastfeeding reduces major causes of infant mortality and morbidity. On the other hand, it is a major mode of vertical HIV transmission. In developing countries like Ethiopia, HIV positive mothers are advised to continue breastfeeding up to 12 months. But there is scarce literature regarding the mothers' adherence to continued breastfeeding recommendations. Therefore, the objective of this study is to assess HIV positive mothers' adherence to the infant feeding recommendations of the new World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for HIV-exposed infants aged ≥6 months.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in health institutions with antiretroviral therapy and prevention of mother to child transmission facilities in Sidama Zone, Southern Ethiopia. Health institutions were considered as clusters and cluster sampling technique was employed. A total of 184 HIV positive mothers with their infants registered at respective health institutions were recruited and assessed for their infant breastfeeding practices. Descriptive statistics (frequency, mean, median, and standard deviation) were computed to describe the breastfeeding practices of HIV positive mothers.
Result: Almost all (181 [98.4%]) of the HIV-exposed infants were “ever breastfed”. Among those mothers who had ever breastfed, 158 (87.3%) initiated breastfeeding within an hour of delivery and 157 (85.8%) had fed their babies colostrum while 31 (16.8%) gave prelacteal food to their infants. The prevalence of continued breastfeeding at 1 year was (54.5%) (46.9% for urban mothers and 75% for rural mothers). Seventy-one percent (70.9%) of HIV positive mothers practiced “on demand” breastfeeding. Twenty nine percent of infants aged 6–11 months and 47.8% of infants aged ≥12 months were no longer breastfed. The mean (± standard deviation) duration of breastfeeding was 7.8 (±3.1) months (95% confidence interval: 6.9–8.7).
Conclusion: The 2010 WHO guidelines and recommendations on breastfeeding duration for HIV positive mothers was not adhered to after 6 months of age. Promotion and counseling of optimal breastfeeding practice for HIV positive mothers based on the updated WHO guideline is an appropriate intervention. However, further research is recommended to evaluate the acceptance of the new 2010 WHO guideline by the health professionals and HIV positive mothers.

Keywords: HIV-exposed, infants, breastfeeding, initiation

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