Effects of maternal social factors on infant feeding practices among HIV positive mothers in Kasama Northern Province
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Against a background of a high HIV prevalence among pregnant women and an absence of interventions to curb HIV transmission to children associated with high HIV infant and childhood mortality and morbidity in Africa, this study was undertaken to determine the social factors that influence infant feeding practices among HIV positive women in Kasama, Northern Province.This was a cross-sectional study and was descriptive in nature. The study was conducted in Northern Province, Kasama District at 2 clinics- the Kasama Urban clinic and the Location clinic. The study recruited HIV positive mothers under the MCH programs in Kasama from the 2 clinics. 196 pregnant mothers were systematically random sampled for the study from the two clinics.Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS. Data were presented in the form of tables and graphs with explanatory narratives in accordance with the study objectives and hypothesis. The Chi-square statistics was used to test possible relationships between the independent and dependent variables at the 5% level of significance.Results of the study showed that most mothers were exclusively breastfeeding as they should. Only 11% of the HIV positive mothers used mixed feeding on their infants. Current infant feeding practices was found not to be associated (p>0.05) with most of the demographic variables: maternal age, marital status of mother, level of education and employment status of mother, and religion. Neither were any of the economic factors associated with infant feeding practices. However, mothers who reported that they had received information about breast feeding practices in relation to MTC where more likely to breast feed their children (p< 0.05). Nurses also were found to influence mother’s choice of infant feeding practices (p< 0.05).The study concludes that infant feeding practices is affected by certain demographic and maternal factors. The relationship between maternal age and current feeding practices is not statistically significant, though the percentage of mothers who chose to exclusively breastfeed increased with age.