Exclusive breastfeeding: a comparative study of two Communities in Atwima District of Ghana

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Exclusive Breastfeeding means to make the infant receive only breast milk and no other liquid or complementary foods with the exception of undiluted drops or syrups consisting of vitamin and mineral. Analytical study type with cross section study design was used in the comparative analysis of exclusive breastfeeding of Amanchiaa (intervention community) and Anwiafutu (Control community) in the Atwima district of Ashanti. 60 mother-child pairs each for the Communities were purposively selected in addition, four health staff were enrolled. The variables were EBF knowledge of mothers, exclusive breastfeeding practices, benefits of EI3F, nutritional status of children (0-24 months) and the level of community participation. The tools used were structured interview guide, salter spring scale and a measuring tape The conclusions were; the level of EBF between the two communities was statistically not different p > 0.05, the level of knowledge on EBF between the two communities breastfeeding was statistically not different (χ21 = 3.125), there was statistically no difference in the EBF practices between the two communities (χ212 = 0.228), there was statistically no difference in the appreciation of BBF benefits between the two communities (χ24 = 0. 1 55). Again, there was statistically no difference in the nutritional status among children (O24monIhs) in the two communities (χ24=0.228). Finally, the level of community involvement in EBF promotion between the two communities was statistically not different (χ22 = 0. 192). It was recommended that the traditional mechanism of exclusive breastfeeding promotion such as CWC programme should be strengthened by the Ghana Health Service (GHS), through adequate budgetary support. Again the Community Growth Promotion programme should be reviewed by GHS, USAID and Basic 11 and provide retraining to the community based growth promoters in order to make the programme more effective. The District Health Administration (DHA), District Administration (DA) and other relevant should work in concert improve EBF through intensive awareness creation. Finally, an award scheme should be instituted by traditional authorities and unit committees to serve as an incentive to motivate mothers to exclusively breastfeed.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Community Health, School of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of MSc.degree in Health Services Planning and Management, 2004