oa SAHARA : Journal of Social Aspects of HIV / AIDS Research Alliance - Preventing mother-to-child transmission : factors affecting mothers' choice of feeding - a case study from Cameroon : original article
This paper reports on factors influencing the decision of mothers regarding the type of feeding method for their babies in a rural setting in Cameroon. The aim of the study was to ascertain the proportion of mothers choosing the different methods of feeding, to determine the various factors influencing their choices, and to ascertain the relationships of these factors to their respective choices. Questionnaires were used on 108 HIV-positive mothers who had delivered babies and who were administered nevirapine at least 3 months prior to the study. A focus group discussion with mothers also took place. Findings were that more mothers (84%) chose breastfeeding than artificial feeding (16%), while a minority (4%) selected mixed feeding. Factors found to militate against artificial feeding were cost (69%), stigma (64%), family pressure (44%), inconvenience in preparation/administration (38%), prior education from health workers (23%), and loss of special attention from family (8%). On the other hand, advice of health worker (44%), ill health (19.5%), free milk (12.5%), job pressure (12.5%) and loss of beauty (12.5%) were found to militate against breastfeeding. A direct relationship was also found between age, educational level, income size, marital status and choice of feeding. Policies targeting stigma reduction and sociocultural factors affecting the choice of feeding are needed to optimise uptake of the less risky methods of feeding which could in turn contribute to a reduction in transmission.
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