Nutritional knowledge and practices of mothers with malnourished children in a regional hospital in Northeast Namibia

Submitted: 19 November 2022
Accepted: 13 March 2023
Published: 31 May 2023
Abstract Views: 483
PDF: 48
Publisher's note
All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.


Background. An estimated 159 million children under five are affected by malnutrition, with an additional 101 million children under five being underweight in sub-Saharan Africa. In Namibia, 24% of children under age 5 are stunted and 8% are severely stunted. The Kavango region has the highest rate of stunting (38.8%) in the country. Objective. The purpose of the study was to determine and describe the nutritional knowledge and practices of mothers with malnourished children regarding feeding at Rundu Intermediate Hospital, Kavango East Region, Namibia. Materials and Methods. A quantitative cross-sectional research design was used. A convenience sampling technique was used to select 199 mothers with malnourished children who were admitted to the pediatric ward. Data were collected via self-administered questionnaires with closed-ended questions. Results. 51.8% of the mothers had correct nutritional knowledge regarding breastfeeding for six months before giving other food, and 74.4% believed that newborns should be initiated to breastfeeding within an hour after birth, while the same number breastfed their babies on demand. Furthermore, 35.6% of the participants followed appropriate practices regarding feeding. Conclusions. Most mothers (51.8%) had appropriate nutritional knowledge. However, only a minority (35.6%) of the mothers had the appropriate practices regarding feeding their children. Hence, there was a knowledge/practice mismatch regarding the significance of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months, and generally the vitality of breast milk to the child. These findings may be used to develop strategies and target interventions to create awareness among mothers regarding effective breastfeeding practices.

Yirga AA, Mwambi HG, Ayele DG, Melesse SF. Factors affecting child malnutrition in Ethiopia. Afr Health Sci. 2019;19(2):1897–909. DOI:

World Health Organization, UNICEF. Infant and young child feeding counselling: an integrated course. Who. 2006. 1–265 p.

Jude CK, Chukwunedum AU, Egbuna KO. Under-five malnutrition in a south-Eastern Nigeria Metropolitan City. Afr Health Sci. 2019;19(4):3078–84. DOI:

Belayneh Kefale Gelaw ZBB. Knowledge and Practice of Mothers towards Exclusive Breastfeeding and Its Associated Factors in Ambo Woreda West Shoa Zone Oromia Region, Ethiopia. Epidemiol Open Access. 2015;05(01). DOI:

Nambiema A, Robert A, Yaya I. Prevalence and risk factors of anemia in children aged from 6 to. BMC Public Health. 2019;19(1):1–9. DOI:

Yirga A. Statistical Models to Study the BMI of Under Five Children in Ethiopia. University of Kwazulu Natal; 2018.

Haludilu E. Investigation on the factors associated with undernutrition among children under 5 years in engela district hospital, ohangwena region, namibia. 2017;(April).

UNICEF-WHO-The World Bank Group. Joint child malnutrition estimates-Levels and trends in child malnutrition. Key findings of the 2018 edition. 2020;1–16.

Ministry of Helath and Social Services. Namibia Demographic and Health Survey. Namibia Demogr Heal Surv 2013. 2014;

Namibia Alliance for Improved Nutrition. Malnutrition in Namibia: the Time To Act Is Now. 2010. 18–21 p.

Nangolo RM. Factors that promote exclusive Breastfeeding amongst mothers at a hospital in Windhoek, Namibia. Stellenbosch University; 2021.

World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Nurturing the health and wealth of nations: the investment case for breastfeeding Global breastfeeding collective - Executive summary. Unicef. 2017;7.

World Health Organization. Comprehensive implementation plan on maternal, infant and young child nutritionیلیب. 2014;30.

Henghono RN, Maanonghitanwa E, Niikondo HN. Factors Associated with Malnutrition Among Children Under the Age of Five Years in Katutura Health Centre , Windhoek , Khomas Region. 2019;3(01):21–31.

Mulenga E, Amukugo H, Shilunga A. The experiences of mothers and caregivers on feeding practices of children under the age of five years with undernutrition in Oshikoto region , Namibia. 2018;4(2). DOI:

Ashipala DO, Shikukumwa G, Joel MH. Knowledge , attitudes and practices of HIV-positive mothers regarding the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding at a regional hospital in the north east of Namibia. 2021;21(3):1074–82. DOI:

Bougie R, Sekaran U. Research methods for business: A skill building approach. 8th ed. John Wiley and Sons; 2019. 432 p.

Akeredolu IA, Osisanya JO, Seriki-Mosadolorun, J. S. Okorafor U. Mothers’ nutritional knowledge, infant feeding practices and nutritional status of children (0-24 months). Eur J Nutr Food Saf. 2014;364(74). DOI:

Kajjura R, Veldman F, Kassier S. Effect of Nutrition Education on Knowledge , Complementary Feeding , and Hygiene Practices of Mothers With Moderate Acutely Malnourished Children in Uganda. 2019;(June). DOI:

World Health Organisation. Maternal , infant and young child nutrition in East and Southern African countries : moving to national implementation. Entebbe; 2013.

Manohar B, Reddy NS, Vyshnavi P, Sruthi PS. Assessment of Knowledge , Attitude and Practice of Mothers with Severe Acute Malnutrition Children Regarding Child Feeding. 2018;10(December 2016):150–4.

Pallewaththa P, Agampodi SB, Agampodi TC, Siribaddana SH. Knowledge , attitudes , and practices of responsive feeding in rural Sri Lanka ( A qualitative study ). 2019;1(December 2018):70–5. DOI:

Meshram I, Balakrishna N, Arlappa N, Laxmaiah A. Infant and young child feeding practices , sociodemographic factors and their association with nutritional status of children aged Infant and young child feeding practices , sociodemographic factors and their association with nutritional status of children aged < 3 years in India : fi ndings of the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau survey , 2011 – 2012. 2018;(November). DOI:

Urielle Y, Lokossou A, Tambe AB, Azandjèmè C, Mbhenyane X. Socio-cultural beliefs influence feeding practices of mothers and their children in Grand Popo , Benin. 2021;7:1–12. DOI:

Ickes SB, Baguma C, Brahe CA, Myhre JA, Adair LS, Bentley ME, et al. Maternal participation in a nutrition education program in Uganda is associated with improved infant and young child feeding practices and feeding knowledge : a post-program comparison study. 2017;1–10. DOI:

Desalegn BB, Lambert C, Riedel S, Negese T, Biesalski HK. Feeding Practices and Undernutrition in 6–23-Month-Old Children of Orthodox Christian Mothers in Rural Tigray, Ethiopia: Longitudinal Study. Nutrients. 2019;11(138):1–15. DOI:

Nayak BS, Unnikrishnan B, George A, Shashidhara YN, Mundkur SC. Risk factors for malnutrition among preschool children in rural Karnataka : a case-control study. 2018;1–8.

Walters CN, Rakotomanana H, Komakech JJ, Stoecker BJ. Maternal determinants of optimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding and their association with child undernutrition in Malawi ( 2015 – 2016 ). 2019;1–12. DOI:

Awasthi S, Verma T, Sanghvi T, Frongillo EA. Path to severe acute malnutrition in children below 2 years of age : Findings of qualitative research in Uttar Pradesh , North India. Clin Epidemiol Glob Heal. 2019;7(2):246–52. DOI:

Albanus, F. S., & Ashipala, D. O. (2023). Nutritional knowledge and practices of mothers with malnourished children in a regional hospital in Northeast Namibia. Journal of Public Health in Africa, 14(8).


Download data is not yet available.