Exploring the knowledge, attitudes and practices of pregnant women on infant feeding methods for prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV in a regional hospital of eThekwini district.
Khanyile, Sibongile Thulisiwe.
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Background: HIV-infected mothers in high income countries are advised not to breast-feed and are family oriented regarding the decision of the choice of feeding method for their infants. In contrast, in low and middle income countries (LMIC) the responsibility of making an informed choice on feeding practice rests primarily on the woman herself. The choice of infant feeding method is important for HIV-positive mothers in order to optimize the chance of survival for their infants and to minimize the risk of HIV transmission. Purpose of the study The purpose of this study was to assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices of pregnant women with regard to the infant feeding method for prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV. Methodology This study used a quantitative and descriptive design. It was conducted at a regional hospital of eThekwini District. Systematic sampling was used to select 250 respondents. Data was collected data using semi-structured questions in a questionnaire. The data was analysed using simple descriptive statistics using SPSS version 19. Results of the study All 104 (100%) respondents infected with the HIV virus strongly agreed that transmission of the HIV virus occurred from mother to child at the time of pregnancy, during delivery or through breastfeeding. All 104 (100%) of the HIV infected women strongly agreed that formula feeding had no role in the transmission of the HIV virus and they were familiar with modes of transmission of the HIV virus. Forty eight (46%) of the HIV infected respondents stated that they will exclusively breastfeed their infants; 34 (33%) will adopt the mixed feeding method that is breastfeeding and the utilization of formula, while 22 (21%) will use the replacement feeding method milk that the government supplies. Conclusion The choice of feeding practices among the HIV infected and HIV uninfected respondents was varied. The majority 145 (58%) of the respondents selected exclusive breastfeeding as their choice of infant feeding method, while 38 (15.2%) selected replacement and 67 (26.8%) chose mixed feeding. Several factors influenced the mother’s preferred feeding method for their infants. Recommendations Following the results from this study, the recommendations include: Health educate all the pregnant mothers and their relatives on the importance of PMTCT programs with an emphasis on adequate feeding practices, and provide the most recent feeding guidelines. Support to the HIV positive mothers with limited resources, in particular these breastfeeding.
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