Is exclusive breastfeeding an option or a necessity in Africa? A pooled study using the deuterium oxide dose-to-mother technique

  • Helen Mulol | mulol@ukzn.ac.za Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
  • Anna Coutsoudis Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
  • Waliou Amoussa Hounkpatin Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2902-8248
  • Elisaphinate Urio Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, United Republic of.
  • Philomène Kenguela Wabolou Centre for Outpatient Treatment (CTA), Community Hospital of Bangui, Central African Republic.
  • Yolande Sissinto Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin.
  • Khalid El-Kari National Centre for Energy, Sciences and Nuclear Techniques (CNESTEN), Rabat, Morocco. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9510-9257

Abstract

Given the valuable health, development, and economic benefits of human milk exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) is recommended by the World Health Organisation for the first six months of an infant’s life. Many resource-limited regions in Africa do not line-up with these recommendations therefore EBF promotion efforts on the continent need to be scaled up and monitored. This study explores the human milk intake volumes of 5 countries (Benin, Central African Republic, Morocco, South Africa and Tanzania) both at country level and in a pooled sample at 3 months (n= 355) and at 6 months (n=193). Mean human milk intake volumes in the pooled samples were 697.6 g/day at 3 months and 714.9 g/day at 6 months. EBF was determined both by maternal recall as well as using the deuterium oxide dose-to-mother technique using two different cut-offs of non-milk oral intake. Comparison of these results showed substantial over-reporting of EBF by maternal recall, which suggests that actual rates of EBF are even lower than reported thus highlighting the importance of scaling-up EBF promotion strategies.

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Published
2020-04-29
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Keywords:
exclusive breastfeeding, human milk intake, deuterium oxide dose-to-mother technique
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How to Cite
Mulol, H., Coutsoudis, A., Amoussa Hounkpatin, W., Urio, E., Kenguela Wabolou, P., Sissinto, Y., & El-Kari, K. (2020). Is exclusive breastfeeding an option or a necessity in Africa? A pooled study using the deuterium oxide dose-to-mother technique. Journal of Public Health in Africa, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/jphia.2020.932