Socio-demographic factors with exclusive breastfeeding among mothers with children less than six months of age in Zimbabwe

Munjoma, Pamela Takudzwa
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Background Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) is one of the most effective public health interventions known to reduce infant morbidity and mortality. Despite evidence on benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, rates remain low in Zimbabwe. Few studies have looked at the factors associated with low EBF rates in Zimbabwe. The aim of the study was to determine the socio-demographic factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding among mothers with children less than six months of age in Zimbabwe. Methodology The study conducted a secondary data analysis of the 2010/2011 Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS). Data on 638 mothers with children aged less than six months was analysed guided by the framework of determinants of exclusive breastfeeding. Using Stata 13, factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding were identified using bivariate and multiple logistic regression analysis. Results This study revealed that the exclusive breastfeeding rate was 30.9% (197/638) among mothers of infants aged 0-5 months. Urban residence (0.0389) and health facility deliveries (0.0195) were positively associated with exclusive breastfeeding practice among mothers. Factors that negatively influenced exclusive breastfeeding were; bottle feeding (p= <0.0001) and increasing infant age (p=<0.0001). Conclusions In conclusion, EBF rates are still low among women in Zimbabwe. To scale-up exclusive breastfeeding, interventions should target mothers from rural areas, improve health facility deliveries and strengthen the enforcement of the code of marketing of breast milk substitutes. Breastfeeding mothers should be supported beyond the health facility to sustain exclusive breastfeeding for six months.
Research report submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master’s Degree in Public Health, Maternal and Child Health