Online Program

Social and health care policies on breastfeeding and its impact on child health status across developing countries

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 11:22 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Monika Sawhney, PhD, MSW, Public Health, Marshall Univeristy, Huntington, WV
The association between duration of breastfeeding and child survival is strong and positive.  Breastfeeding is one of the most effective crosscutting interventions to improve child health status. Breast milk provides a child with adequate nutrient intake and immunologic defense, as well as helps to regulate birth spacing. With benefits of breastfeeding well documented, many of the developing countries still continue to report lower levels of breastfeeding. These lead to recurrent diarrhea, Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI), and other infections resulting poor nutritional status of children.

The objectives of this study are multifold. (i) examine existing policies on breastfeeding across developing countries, (ii) study the impact of socio-economic determinants on duration of breastfeeding across low-income countries, and (iii) recommend policy actions that would enhance complementarity in the roles of breastfeeding on one hand and its role in assuring continued progress in child health status on the other. The study is based on low-income countries where Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data are available for the year 2005 and beyond. Ordinary least squares is used to predict breastfeeding length using socio-economic variables (wealth quintiles, maternal education, and female autonomy). Length of breastfeeding is the response variable while control variables includes age, sex of the child, and use of antenatal services. Preliminary results show that length of breastfeeding is strongly associated with use of antenatal services, and women’s autonomy.  Positive breastfeeding campaigns can accelerate improvement in child health status especially among countries who are likely to fail in achieving child health related MDGs.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe importance of breastfeeding and its role in reducing infant and child mortality Explain the social dimensions of breastfeeding Assess knowledge regarding positive breastfeeding campaigns can have on improving health status of children and help in achievement of millennium development goals

Keyword(s): Breastfeeding, Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a terminal degree in Public Health with specialization in maternal and child health and have research and field experience in countries across the world. I also have experience presenting my research at various international, national, and regional conferences.
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.