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J Diarrhoeal Dis Res. 1997 Sep;15(3):161-6.

Breast-feeding promotion in a diarrhoea programme in rural communities.

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College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria.


Breast-feeding promotion is an important intervention for the control of infant diarrhoea. This study assesses the impact of a breast-feeding counselling programme on the prevalence of exclusive breast feeding in rural communities in Nigeria. Mothers attending primary care facilities because their infants had acute diarrhoea were randomised into two groups. The study group (n = 82) received individual, focused breast-feeding counselling, while the controls (n = 79) had routine advice for diarrhoea. Both groups were monitored and followed with home visits to determine infant-feeding practices. The results showed marked increases in exclusive breast-feeding prevalence for the intervention group at day 7 (49% vs. 6% control; p < 0.0001) and day 21 (46% vs. 8%; p < 0.0001). Moreover, diarrhoea re-occurrence at day 21 was less in the intervention group (12%) than controls (18%). It is concluded that focused breast-feeding counselling can increase exclusive breast feeding and reduce the prevalence of diarrhoea in rural communities.

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