255082 Culture is central: A framework for incorporating cultural influences in promoting exclusive breastfeeding

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Kate Reinsma, DrPH, MS , Health and Nutrition, Samaritan's Purse, Niamey, Niger
Nancy Bolima , Hedecs, HEDECS, Bamenda, Cameroon
Florency Fonteh, PhD , Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, University of Dschang, Dschang, Cameroon
Patrick Okwen, MD , Bali Health District, Bali District Hospital, Bamenda, Cameroon
Daniel Yota, MD, MPH , Kumbo West Health District, Kumbo West District Hospital, Kumbo, Cameroon
Susanne Montgomery, PhD, MPH, MS , Behavioral Health Institute, Loma Linda University, Redlands, CA
Study Objective: Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) is one of the single most effective preventive interventions with the potential of saving 1.3 million lives worldwide each year. In the Northwest Region of Cameroon approximately 90% of women initiate breastfeeding, yet only 34% of these women EBF for the recommended 6 months. This study, conducted between February-June 2011, sought to develop a framework to explain the influences on women's EBF practices in the Kumbo West Health District, Northwest Region, Cameroon, so as to develop an appropriate EBF promotion program. Data Collection: Semi-structured interviews (SSI) were conducted with 6 women and 6 men followed by focus group discussions (FGD) with 3 groups of women and 3 groups of men, for a total of 37 female and 41 male participants. Methods: Using qualitative grounded theory methodologies, all of the FGDs and SIs were transcribed verbatim and coded for emergent themes. Results: Three themes emerged that influence EBF practices: woman's readiness to EBF, cultural influences towards EBF, and perceived constraints to EBF. In particular, the cultural influences theme emerged central towards influencing EBF behaviors. Through a series of contextualized discussions between investigators and local health experts, the emergent themes were used to create a theoretical framework. Recommendations: The theoretical framework provides a guide for developing an EBF promotion program in non-Western settings that are less individualistic and more heavily influenced by peer and family norms and cultural beliefs.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Name some of the diseases that exclusive breastfeeding prevents in a developing country. 2. List three cultural beliefs that influence exclusive breastfeeding practices in a non-Western setting. 3. Identify opportunities to include cultural beliefs in a exclusive breastfeeding promotion program.

Keywords: Breast Feeding, International MCH

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the research project coordinator for this study. This research was conducted as part of my doctoral dissertation on developing and testing an audio program to promote exclusive breastfeeding in Cameroon.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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