Main Article Content
Background: Initiating breastfeeding during the first hour after birth and continuing breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months prevents childhood infections such as diarrhoea. Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for the first 6 months of life of the baby is recognised globally as the best and the most effective intervention to ensure the survival of babies. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of EBF and its predictors among mothers of 0 to 6 months infants from pastoralists and hunters’ community in Manyara region-Tanzania.
Methods: This was a community-based analytical cross-sectional study that involved 342 mothers of 0 to 6 months infants who were randomly selected through 4 stage multistage sampling technique. Data was collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Collected data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. Binary Logistic Regression analysis was used to establish factors associated with EBF practices.
Results: The prevalence of EBF among postnatal women from hunters and pastoralists societies was 47.1% at 95% CI=41.7%-52.5%. After adjusted for confounders, the predictors of EBF practice were age of infants (0-1 months, AOR= 2.838 at 95% CI = 1.326-6.075, p=.007), age of mothers (26-35 years, AOR=1.851 at 95% CI= 1.059-3.234, p=.031), Level of education of infants’ mothers (primary education, AOR= 2.374 at 95% CI= 1.321-4.265, p=.004) and knowledge on exclusive breast feeding, AOR=2.51 at 95% CI= 1.435-4.393, p=.001.
Conclusion: Majority of mothers from pastoralists’ and hunters’ societies were not practising EBF. Predictors of EBF practice were; the age of infants, maternal age, level of education of the mother and knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding. Poor EBF practice was mainly contributed to low level of knowledge about the EBF. The low level of knowledge could have been contributed by poor access to maternal services. Nature of living (lack of permanent settlement) of the study population could have contributed to low access to maternal services. An innovative interventional study is highly recommended to come up with strategies that will improve knowledge on EBF and practice of EBF