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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 109-116

Does maternal education impact infant and child care practices in African setting? The case of Northern Nigeria

1 Department of Community Medicine, Bayero University and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Health, University of Jos, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Plateau, Nigeria
3 Public Health Section, School of Health and Related Research, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
4 Department of Community Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Umar Muhammad Lawan
Department of Community Medicine, Bayero University and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, PMB 3452, Kano
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1118-8561.223164

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Background: In many African settings, infant and child care practices are dictated by long-established social norms and cultural values, some of which may be disastrous to the health of the baby. To determine how maternal education is related with child health and rearing practices in Kano. Materials and Methods: Using a descriptive cross-sectional design, 386 randomly selected mothers of under-five children and their babies were examined. Data were analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, version 22 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA). Children's weight-for-height, height-for-age, and weight-for-age Z-scores were obtained. Infant and child care, feeding and weaning practices were assessed and scored based on a system adapted from past study. Results: The mean ± standard deviation of the mothers was 27.3 ± 5.2 years, 69.7% had at least secondary school education. The mothers had 4 ± 2 children, and 79.3% were ≥12 months old. More than half of the children (58.2%) had suffered one or more of the common childhood diseases within the previous month, 60.3% had a form of malnutrition and less than half (42.5%) were fully immunized for age. Varying infant and child care, feeding and weaning practices were observed. Overall, half (49.2%) of the mothers had good care practices, 42.2% had good feeding practices and 57.6% had good weaning practices. Interestingly, neither the mothers' care practices nor the feeding practices were statistically associated with their educational status. However, the proportion of the mothers with good weaning practices was higher among those with no secondary education (59.7%). Conclusion: The finding suggests that cultural beliefs are specific areas of focus in campaigns for improving infant and child care and rearing practices of mothers, and eventually for reducing the high infant and child morbidity and mortality in the Northern Nigeria.

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