Assessment of knowledge, attitude and practices of mothers on infant and young child feeding in Sheema Municipal Council, Sheema District: A case study of Rwamujojo ward
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Malnutrition is a serious challenge in infants (<6 months) and young children (6–23 months) in Sheema district in Uganda. It is a serious problem among this age group. The main contributing factors to this problem are the lack of knowledge by the mothers on proper children nutrition. The study assessed knowledge, attitude and practices of mothers towards proper nutrition among the infant (<6 months) and young child (0-23 months of age) in Rwamujojo ward, Sheema Municipality Sheema district. A cross- sectional study design was used to collect both the qualitative and quantitative data using structured interviews with a designed questionnaire as a guide. Three focus group discussions were conducted with mothers that had consented during the postnatal hospital review visits and immunization. The data was analyzed using SPSS version 20 and chi-square test was used to test for the significance (p≤ 0.05). The results were presented in form of tables and graphs using frequencies and percentages. A total of 316 participants were recruited for the study of which 200 (63.3%) mothers were interviewed and 116 (36.7%) mothers participated in focus group discussion. Majority of the participants (75%) were <19 years of age. The findings showed that 82.0% of the mothers knew that the first feed for the child is breast milk. Out of the (82.0%), 20.2%, introduced other feeds by the second month and 55.2% introduced them during the third and fourth month of age. About 85.0% of the mothers, initiated breastfeeding after one-hour of delivery contrary to the recommended practice of within the first hour by Ministry of Health. Results from the 24-hour recall, showed that housewives fed their children on more classes of complementary food compared to the business women and casual worker mothers whose children were fed only carbohydrates (grains and tubers). Also, the mothers whose husbands were businessmen and farmers served their children more diverse complimentary foods. However, mothers (78%) had a negative attitude on diversifying complementary food believing that feeding children with many different classes of foods can cause abdominal pain and discomfort. Generally, the findings show that majority of the mothers were very young and had knowledge of best feeding practices of the infants (<6 months) and young children (6–23 months) but the nutritional practices and attitude were lacking among the mothers.