n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Cultural practices interfere with adherence to exclusive infant feeding : a qualitative study among HIV positive post natal women in Hammanskraal, South Africa : child nutrition and feeding practices

Supplement 1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Adherence to exclusive infant feeding is not easy to implement in many societies in sub Saharan Africa. Yet, the success of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programme to reduce mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) depends on the ability of the woman to adhere to exclusive feeding. The study examined the social and cultural enablers and barriers to adhere to exclusive feeding among women receiving PMTCT services in Hammanskraal in Gauteng province. Qualitative methods were used to conduct five focus group discussions with 43 women who opted for exclusive breast and formula feeding. Data were analyzed using thematic approach and NVivo 10, data analysis software. The results of the study showed that women believed that they received quality counselling and learnt that exclusive breastfeeding had minimal risk of transmitting HIV to babies. The choice of the feeding options was influenced by the quality of counselling. The family interfered with infant feeding, and pressured women to introduce water, solid foods, and perform cultural practices that were in contradiction to exclusive feeding. Women adhered to exclusive feeding because of knowledge and understanding of MTCT and the desire to prevent HIV transmission to their babies. As a result, they delayed the cultural practices until after 6 months. Cultural practices are a barrier to adherence to exclusive infant feeding and may reduce the positive gains made in prevention of MTCT. Good counselling and support from family made it easy for women to adhere to exclusive infant feeding. It is concluded that counselling in PMTCT takes into consideration the cultural contexts of women and integrate these in the counselling for infant feeding.

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