An Evaluation of Post-campaign Knowledge and Practices of Exclusive Breastfeeding in Uganda

Neeru Gupta, Charles Katende, Ruth Bessinger

Abstract


Despite the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for the health of mothers and children, its practice has markedly declined throughout the developing world. Mass media-communication programmes could play an important role in  reversing this trend. This study evaluated the extent to which exposure to behaviour change communication (BCC) messages in the media determined recent improvements in exclusive breastfeeding knowledge and practices in areas targeted by the Delivery of Improved Services for Health (DISH) Project of Uganda. Data were drawn from the 1999 DISH Evaluation Survey. The survey collected information from representative samples of women and men of reproductive age. Multiple logistic regressions were used for assessing the independent influences of BCC exposure on breastfeeding knowledge and practices, controlling for several confounding factors. The results indica-ted that the exposure to BCC messages was strongly associated with women’s knowledge of six months as the ideal duration for exclusive breastfeeding. Positive influences on knowledge of men were also found. Media effects on women’s current practice of exclusively breastfeeding their infants up to six months were less conclusive, possibly because of the short interval between the launch of the BCC campaign and survey implementation. While there was some evidence of bias of self-reported exposure, results of exploratory analysis of the indirect effects of communication campaigns suggest that impacts may be compounded as overall awareness is increased at the community level eventually leading to improved knowledge among individuals.

Key words:   Breastfeeding; Infant-feeding practices; Infant nutrition; Knowledge, attitudes, practice; Behaviour change communication; Health education; Mass media; Evaluation studies; Uganda


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