oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Knowledge, attitudes and practices of nursing staff regarding the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in non-accredited obstetric units in Cape Town : original research



: The objectives of this study were to assess nursing staff knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI); to assess the knowledge of maternity obstetric unit (MOU) managers regarding BFHI principles and their attitude towards BFHI implementation; and to describe the barriers and constraints to the implementation of BFHI principles.

: Cross-sectional descriptive survey.
: The study was done in eight non-BFHI-accredited primary care maternity obstetric units in Cape Town.
: The subjects were eight MOU managers and a random sample of 45 nursing staff.
: Knowledge, attitude and practices regarding BFHI and barriers to BFHI implementation were assessed by an interviewer-administered questionnaire.
: The study demonstrated acceptable awareness and knowledge of the recommended BFHI principles. A total of 56.6% of the staff could define rooming-in, 47.2% could define the components of the BFHI, and 52.8% could name three baby-friendly care practices and routines. Eighty-nine per cent of the nursing staff were able to demonstrate correct positioning of the baby for breastfeeding, and 91.1% could demonstrate the correct attachment of the baby to the breast. Only 8.9% of the nursing staff were able to adequately demonstrate the correct hand milk-expressing technique, 35.6% knew about the correct management of painful nipples and 22.2% knew how to manage engorgement. Only 40% could adequately describe the safe preparation of infant formula. The enrolled nursing assistants (ENA) were significantly less knowledgeable than the other cadres of nurses. The majority of the nurses had a positive attitude toward BFHI principles and practices.


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