An investigation of the factors influencing the choice of infant feeding methods among urban Zimbabwean women in the context of HIV transmission
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Objective: To determine the socio-economic and cultural factors influencing the choice of infant feeding methods in urban Zimbabwe women in the context ol HIV transmission. Study Design: A prospective survey. Setting: Clinics in Harare and Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. Subjects: A total of 200 women attending eight baby clinics, with babies aged up to two years. Main Outcome Measures: Infant feeding methods used by mothers, number of women who had undergone HIV testing, those who knew the link between HIV and breast feeding, and those who were afraid to breast feed. The most common reasons for breast feeding and formula feeding. Results: Husbands had a greater influence on feeding practices than nurses, implying that social influences have a higher influence than the advice of medical personnel when choosing a method of feeding (58% and 42% respectively). Thirty three percent and 77% of women in Harare and Chitungwiza respectively knew the link between HIV and breast milk. Thirteen percent and 36% of the women were afraid to breast leed in Harare and Chitungwiza respectively. Conclusion: The level of education and employment status as well as the opinions of family members and health care personnel are the major factors that influence the choice of method of infant feeding. The multiplicity of factors complicate the decision making process, considering the benefits of breast feeding, which have to be weighed against the risk of transmitting HIV to the infant.
Additional Citation InformationGara, C. P., Pazvakavambwa, I., Maponga, C.C. and Gavaza, P. (2005). An investigation of the factors influencing the choice of infant feeding methods among urban Zimbabwean women in the context of HIV transmission. Central African Journal of Medicine, 50( 1/2), 1-4.
University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences