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PROJECT TOPIC: IMPORTANCE OF EXCLUSIVE BREAST FEEDING ON THE HEALTH OF AN INFANT IN IDAH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF KOGI STATE

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

Over  the  last  couple  of  decades,  there  has  been  an  increasing  interest  in  the  promotion  of exclusive breastfeeding as the ‘best’ feeding method for newborns. This, to a large extent, has been inspired by mounting scientific evidence on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in reducing infant  morbidity  and  mortality.  In resource limited settings  where  poor  and  suboptimal breastfeeding practices frequently result to child malnutrition which is a major cause of more than half of all child deaths (Sokolet al., 2007), exclusive breastfeeding is regarded as imperative  for  infants’  survival.  Indeed,  of  the  6.9  million  under  five  children  who  were reported dead globally in 2011, an estimated 1 million lives could have been saved by simple and  accessible  practices  such  as  exclusive  breastfeeding  (WHO,  2012).  Consequently,  the WHO  and  UNICEF  (1990)  have  recommended  exclusive  breastfeeding  for  six  months, followed by introduction of complementary foods and continued breastfeeding for 24 months or more.

In Ghana, an estimated 84% of children younger than2 months are being exclusively breastfed.  By  age  4  to  5  months,  however,  only  49%  continue  to  receive  exclusive breastfeeding (Ghana Statistical Service & ICF Macro, 2009 ). In order to understand the dynamics of the practice, several studies have been conducted in Ghana and in many parts of the world.  Much  of  these  studies  have  focused  on  factors  and  barriers  to  exclusive breastfeeding  (Aidamet  al.  2005;  Otoo  et  al.  2009; Senarathet  al.  2010).  Some  too have looked  at  the  health  outcomes  of  exclusive  and  non  exclusive  breastfeeding  (Duncan  et  al. 2009; Coutsoudiset al.,1999; Kramer, 2003); while others have also studied the potential role of  husbands  in  breastfeeding  decisions  (Aroraet  al.,2000;  Susin,  et  al.  2008).  Much  less attempts however, have been made at investigating how the family might influence exclusive breastfeeding practices  especially in sub Saharan Africa. This thesis is thus an Endeavour to meet the current knowledge gaps.

In Nigeria, nearly all mother stint breast feeding and continue until 21 months an average, but only 1% of infants are exclusively breast fed for the first six months and this rate did not change between 1992 and 2005 (Kourgueriet al, 1993).

Exclusive Breast Feeding (E.B.F) is rare for a variety of reasons related to both mothers and their environment, including service delivered by health professional (HP) (Lutter,2000), some studies have shown that health professionals (HP) play an important role in the mother’s decisions and practices (Loschet al.,1995) it is well known that support and counseling from health care provider can improve breasting rates as well as early initiation and total duration of breast feeding, and make mother more confident (Heirmenicket al., 1998).


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