Original Research

Knowledge, attitude and practice of infant feeding in the first 6 months among HIV-positive mothers at the Queen Mamohato Memorial hospital clinics, Maseru, Lesotho

Stephen O. Olorunfemi, Lilian Dudley
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 10, No 1 | a1438 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v10i1.1438 | © 2018 Stephen O. Olorunfemi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 February 2017 | Published: 17 May 2018

About the author(s)

Stephen O. Olorunfemi, Division of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Lilian Dudley, Division of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The balance between the risks of transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through breastfeeding and its life-saving benefits complicates decisions about infant feeding among HIV-positive mothers in the first 6 months.

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of infant feeding among HIV-positive mothers attending the prevention of mother-to-child transmission services in Maseru, Lesotho.

Method and setting: This observational cross-sectional study was done by collecting data from HIV-positive mothers attending the filter clinics of Queen Mamohato Memorial hospital in Maseru, Lesotho. HIV-positive mothers with infants below the age of 6 months attending the clinics at the time of the study were interviewed using a standardised questionnaire. We described the sociodemographic profile of the mothers, the information and education received on prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) infant feeding options, the mothers’ knowledge, attitudes and practices of infant feeding, and assessed risk factors for improved knowledge, attitudes and practices.

Results: The majority (96%) of the 191 HIV-positive mothers who participated in the survey knew about the PMTCT programme and related breastfeeding services. Most of the participants chose to breastfeed (89%), while only 8% formula-fed their infants. Knowledge received during the PMTCT programme was significantly associated with the decision to exclusively breastfeed their infants. Earlier infant feeding counselling and education was associated with more exclusively breastfeeding as compared to late infant feeding counselling (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: The study found that HIV-positive mothers attending health clinics in Maseru, Lesotho, had high knowledge, and appropriate attitudes and practices with respect to infant feeding; and that early counselling and education improved infant feeding methods among these mothers.


Keywords

Knowledge; practice; HIV

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