Maternal knowledge on infant and young child feeding, feeding practices and nutritional status of children 6-23 months in Kiryandongo Refugee settlement
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Background: Undernutrition is a major public health concern in Uganda especially among the refugee population. Maternal knowledge is an important determinant of the child’s feeding practices and nutritional status. Objective: To assess the mother’s knowledge on infant and young child feeding recommendations and its association with the actual feeding practices and nutritional status of children 6-23 months in Kiryandongo refugee settlement. Methods: A cross sectional study involving quantitative approach was carried out in Kiryandongo refugee settlement. A total of 396 mother/caregivers-child pairs were recruited in to the study through multistage sampling method. Multivariate analysis was done to show the association between the mother’s level of knowledge and the child feeding practices and nutritional status. Results: Majority of the mothers (94%) were knowledgeable about the recommended infant and young child feeding practices. Almost all the children were initiated to breastfeeding within the first hour after birth (98%) and 99% had ever breastfed. Majority of the mothers (84%) continued breastfeed their children up to the age of one year and 75% breastfed them up to the age two years. Most of the children were timely initiated to complementary feeding (68%), achieved Minimum Meal frequency (63%) and dietary diversity (40%). The prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight were 12.4%, 9.3% and 11.9% respectively. Mothers who were knowledgeable on Infant and Young Child Feeding recommendations were less likely to timely initiate their children to complementary feeding [APR 0.93 (0.86-0.99)]. Conclusion: The mother’s knowledge on infant and young child feeding was high and this knowledge was associated with the child’s feeding practices and not the child’s nutritional status. Interventions should be targeted towards the translation of the maternal knowledge on infant and young child feeding in to the recommended child feeding practices.