Abstract of Dissertation

Agency : ICDS, IYCF- Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices, KAP- Knowledge, Attitude and Practice, Rajkot, Gujarat

Objective : The main objective of this survey was to determine knowledge, attitude, and practice of infant and young child feeding practices of population of Rajkot District of Gujarat State so as to establish a bench mark for the program implementation. The specific objectives are to obtain quantitative data on infant and young child feeding practices using the WHO IYCF indicators, to assess the consumption of the different types of food for children aged from 6- 23 months with in the 24 hours prior to the survey, and hence estimate the food diversity within the last 24hours, to assess the factors related to IYCF practices and to make recommendations based on findings.

Background : Optimal IYCF practices especially early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life- help ensure young children the best possible start to life. The growth rate in the life of human beings is maximum in the first year of life and infant feeding practices comprising of both the breastfeeding as well as complementary feeding have major role in determining the nutritional status of the child. The link between malnutrition and infant feeding is very well established. Poor feeding practices in infancy and early childhood, resulting in malnutrition, contribute to impaired cognitive and social development, poor school performance and reduced productivity in later life, therefore being a major threat to social and economic development

Methodology : The study was conducted in selected villages in seven blocks of Rajkot District from 3rd February – 30th April 2014. It is a cross sectional study using cluster sampling and random selection using lottery method using ‘WHO model for vaccination survey’. Mothers of children under two years of age were used as sample (210, including a 15% nonresponse rate) for the purpose of study. Information regarding IYCF knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) of mother of children less than two years of age was gathered using a scheduled questionnaire which was translated to local language, pretested and improved to strengthen the data collection.

Findings : Around 79% of the mothers had attended school, while 82% of the mothers were able to read and write a simple sentence. According to the gender demography, 57% of the children were males compared to 43% who were girls.92% of the mothers immediately breastfed their children after birth i.e. within first 2 hours. Community sensitization event is not common in the study area to pass information about child feeding.

Recommendations : The results suggest that the prevalence of exclusive (and predominant) breastfeeding was low. The results do not reveal differences between exclusively and non-exclusively breastfeed children. The women and children are facing several nutritional and health challenges. It is important to encourage the continuation of the positive breastfeeding practices. It is unlikely that the mothers would willingly expose their children to the dangers of non-exclusive breastfeeding. Whether these practices are due to lack of knowledge, inaccurate assumptions or simply resilient cultural customs and are yet to be determined, and calls for further research.