Breastfeeding Knowledge and Attitudes amongst HealthWorkers in a Health Care Facility in South-South Nigeria: The Need for Middle Level Health Manpower Development
AbstractThis cross-sectional study was designed to assess the knowledge and attitudes of health workers in South-South Nigeria using a semi-structured, self-administered questionnaire completed by 36 respondents. Majority
(69.4%) of participants were community health officers/ community health extension workers (CHO/CHEW). Findings indicate that human milk was acceptable to 97.2% of participating health workers. All participants approved of exclusive breastfeeding and giving colostrum to newborns.
However, 8.3% identified < 4 months as the recommended length of exclusive breastfeeding duration, 8.3% specified > 6 months and 83.3% indicated 4–6 months. Only 36.1% knew that breastfeeding should last for a period of 2 years and beyond. One third of the respondents could not name more than two components of breast milk and 75.1% failed
to identify more than three advantages of breastfeeding. Disturbingly, mental retardation (11.1%), diarrheal disease (2.8%) and failure to thrive (16.7%) were some of the disadvantages of breastfeeding identified. This study illustrates substantial and unacceptable knowledge gaps among
frontline cadres of health workers. Immediate training and continuing medical education of health workers aimed at bridging these gaps, will help improve newborn health.