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Infant feeding practices and diarrhoea in sub-Saharan African countries with high diarrhoea mortality.

Ogbo, Felix A; Agho, Kingsley; Ogeleka, Pascal; Woolfenden, Sue; Page, Andrew; Eastwood, John. ; Global Child Health Research Interest Group
PLoS One; 12(2): e0171792, 2017.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28192518

BACKGROUND:

The impacts of optimal infant feeding practices on diarrhoea have been documented in some developing countries, but not in countries with high diarrhoea mortality as reported by the World Health Organisation/United Nations Children's Fund. We aimed to investigate the association between infant feeding practices and diarrhoea in sub-Saharan African countries with high diarrhoea mortality.

METHOD:

The study used the most recent Demographic and Health Survey datasets collected in nine sub-Saharan African countries with high diarrhoea mortality, namely: Burkina Faso (2010, N = 9,733); Demographic Republic of Congo (2013; N = 10,458); Ethiopia (2013, N = 7,251); Kenya (2014, N = 14,034); Mali (2013, N = 6,365); Niger (2013, N = 7,235); Nigeria (2013, N = 18,539); Tanzania (2010, N = 5,013); and Uganda (2010, N = 4,472). Multilevel logistic regression models that adjusted for cluster and sampling weights were used to investigate the association between infant feeding practices and diarrhoea in these nine African countries.

RESULTS:

Diarrhoea prevalence was lower among children whose mothers practiced early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive and predominant breastfeeding. Early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding were significantly associated with lower risk of diarrhoea (OR = 0.81; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.77-0.85, P<0.001 and OR = 0.50; 95%CI: 0.43-0.57, respectively). In contrast, introduction of complementary foods (OR = 1.31; 95%CI: 1.14-1.50) and continued breastfeeding at one year (OR = 1.27; 95%CI: 1.05-1.55) were significantly associated with a higher risk of diarrhoea.

CONCLUSION:

Early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding are protective of diarrhoea in sub-Saharan African countries with high diarrhoea mortality. To reduce diarrhoea mortality and also achieve the health-related sustainable development goals in sub-Saharan African, an integrated, multi-agency strategic partnership within each country is needed to improve optimal infant feeding practices.