Determinants of breastfeeding in Kenya based on Kenya demographic and health survey [KDHS] 1993
Sore, Ursula L
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This study was undertaken to examine how selected socio-economic, cultural and demographic factors affect breastfeeding. The main objective was based on the fact that although family planning programmes were introduced in Kenya over two and a half decades ago, breastfeeding has been slowly adopted in these programmes for the benefits of the health of the infant and to a lesser extent for its purpose as a fertility inhibitor. The data used was obtained from the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) which was conducted in 1993. In this survey 7540 women were interviewed out of which data for 1609 women who had reported breastfeeding in the closed birth interval was utilized for the study. Crosstabulation and the multiple regression approaches were undertaken to bring out the findings of the study. The results of the study revealed that urbanization and mother's education are negatively related to duration of breastfeeding while increase in age seemed to have a positive effect on breastfeeding. (Other factors utilized in the study were ethnicity, parity and marriage type). Mothers who reported that the birth during the interval was alive were found to have longer breastfeeding durations. Current contraceptive use was also found to significantly affect breastfeeding duration, with women who were using a modern method having longer periods compared to the other categories. Work status (employed or not) was not significant in influencing breastfeeding duration in the closed birth interval. The multiple regression results showed significant relationships between age of the mother, survival status of the child, ethnicity, current contraceptive use and education and the duration of breastfeeding in the last closed interval. The major conclusion derived from the above results was that proximate factors, (survival status of child and contraceptive use), Socio-economic (education) and Demographic factors (age) are very significant in influencing breastfeeding duration. Strategies to promote breastfeeding including breastfeeding education programs/campaigns, training of personnel in breastfeeding management, mass media education and the general integration of breastfeeding programs in existing family planning health service programs should be adopted. Further research should in addition be undertaken to determine the current trends of breastfeeding and reasons for continuing or discontinuing breastfeeding. Programs and policies to promote breastfeeding should also be regularly evaluated.