CHALLENGES OF EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING AMONG WORKING CLASS WOMEN
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Exclusive Breastfeeding which is the act or means of feeding the baby with breast milk only after birth for a period of six months before introduction of other sources of food are a challenge to working class women.
This study was aimed at examining the challenges of exclusive breastfeeding among working class women in Malingo-community Buea, specifically the study also ascertains women’s knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding among working class women in Malingo-community Buea, assess women’s knowledge on the challenges faced in practicing Exclusive Breastfeeding in Malingo community Buea and determine the effects of in exclusive breastfeeding in Malingo community Buea.
From the research questions were also formulated, this study adopted quantitative base cross-sectional study design approach, the population of the study was made up of Exclusive Breastfeeding women in the Malingo Molyko community in Buea, the sample size of the study was made up of 148 women, the study also made used of convenience sampling technique, the instrument for data collection was the questionnaire.
Data was analysed using Excel 2019 where the results was presented using tables and charts. The results of the study found that exclusive breastfeeding can be used as a family planning method and that 6months is the ideal period for Exclusive Breastfeeding, complimentary feeds can be introduced after a period of 6month, the study also concluded that majority of women feeling shy to breastfeed in public and it’s one of the top challenges faced by women, from the finding of the study.
The study recommended that Hospital administrators should work in hand with the various women groups in the community and women groups in churches so as raise more awareness on the issue so as educate the public of the effects of unexclusive breastfeeding and how these challenges can be overcome.
1.1 Background of the study
Over the last couple of decades, there has been an increasing interest in the property of exclusive breastfeeding as the “best” feeding method for newborns. This, to a large extent has been inspired by mounting scientific evidence on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in reducing infants’ morbidity and mortality.
In resource limited setting where poor and sub-optimal breastfeeding practices frequently result to child malnutrition which is a major cause of more than half of all child death, exclusive breastfeeding is regarded as imperative for infants survived. Indeed, of the 6.9million under five children who were reported dead globally in 2011(Seidu. 2018.) an estimated 1million lives could have saved by simple and accessible practices such as exclusive breastfeeding. On January 1998. T. Greiner published the first article on exclusive breastfeeding in which he strictly emphasizes on the period of six (6) months.
One explanation for South Africa’s low rate of Exclusive Breastfeeding is the county’s high HIV prevalence, with 30.8% of mother attending antenatal care testing HIV positive (National Department of Health 2017). As Epidemiologists tried to identify the risk of mother of transmission early in the epidemic, government health facilities provided eligible HIV positive mothers with the option of receiving free commercial formula to support that choice (National D.H 2008, 2001).
As antiretroviral therapy (ART) became more available and transmission risk dropped, South Africa’s Department of health proclaimed the 2011 Tshwane Declaration for the promotion of exclusive Breastfeeding and discontinued its formula program (Department of health 2011)
In the world at large the prevalence of current low exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) level in developing countries like west and central Africa tend to have the highest rates of infant malnutrition in the world. In Cameroon the percentage of infant that are being exclusively breastfed for the first six month is about 20% after birth (W.H.O 2013.)
In developing countries, exclusive breastfeeding helps to prevent such as 13% of all under-five death thereby making it an essential component of childhood, mortality prevention strategies (Jones, et Al .2003.) Further, in order to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (UNMDG) to reduce child Mortality by 2/3(66.7%), it’s vital that we address neonatal mortality through evidence based. l, proven interventions such as promotion of exclusive breastfeeding (Edmond, et al. 2006.)
In Cameroon, Public survey indicates that exclusive Breastfeeding is still a struggle and its breastfeeding rate stands at 40% as the Public Health Minister Mananouda Malachie launched the 2019 National Breastfeeding in Yaounde on October, 22 2019. Dr. Habimana Phanuel, World Health Organization (W.H.O) resident representative in Cameroon said the figure of the rate of Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) should move up to 50% in 2025.
Exclusive Breastfeeding on the other hand in Seidu I’s work, EFB and family influence in the rural Ghana, he used qualitative study and retrieved in May 15, 2018. He made mention of the fact that EBF challenges on mothers we’re belief that breast milk alone was not sufficient in meeting their babies’ nutritional needs, short Maternity leave periods and socio- cultural pressure to introduce water and artificial feeds. He further concludes that; mothers are confronted with numerous EBF challenges both at the individual and societal levels and stakeholders need to consider these in order to support EBF mothers to maximize outcome.
Reviewing the Maternity leave to accommodate an extended maternity leave in addition to the employee’s annual leave and could further improve EBF practice rates. Exclusive Breastfeeding which is the act or means of feeding the baby with breast milk only after birth for a period of six months before introduction of other sources of food are a challenge to working class women. These challenges maybe amplified among working mothers in Cameroon Southwest Region (Malingo-Buea).
1.2 Problem Statement
Morbidity and mortality rate has greatly been a challenge to working class women and it tends to make the action a call for concern among working class women from the researcher experience, and working women who intended to carryout exclusively breastfeed the child confronted challenges due to short leave(Maternity leave) which have not permit them to stay home in order to exclusively breastfeed the child in order to go to work , and they also encountered problems with their menstrual period which delays to come with an additional 2 months of exclusive
Breastfeeding, lack of experience on breastfeeding and cannot be able to focus on work and the child at once, due to short Maternity leave, majority of the women complaint of long periods of EBF due to lack of support from employers, family, friends and from Health care professionals. So, experience and observation the problems are short Maternity leave, low educational attainment and experience of EBF, and lack of support from family members most especially their spouses and friend.
In Cameroon breastfeeding mothers feel shy away in giving breast milks to their new born babies and this has really been a called for attention. Moreso, there is little or no documented data on this subject and it has motivated this researcher to carried out a study on the topic.
1.3.1 General Objective
To examine the challenges of exclusive breastfeeding among working class women in Malingo-community Buea
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
- To ascertain women’s knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding among working class women in Malingo-community Buea.
- To assess women’s knowledge of the challenges faced in practicing Exclusive Breastfeeding in Malingo community Buea.
- To determine the effects of exclusive breastfeeding in Malingo community Buea.