Original Research

Knowledge, attitudes and practices of men in a South African rural community in relation to exclusive breastfeeding

Oscar M. Mabele, Matthew O.A. Benedict, Wilhelm J. Steinberg, Elizabeth Reji, Cornel van Rooyen, Anthonio O. Adefuye
South African Family Practice | Vol 64, No 1 : Part 1| a5366 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v64i1.5366 | © 2022 Oscar Mzaefane Mabele, Matthew Olukayode Abiodun Benedict, Wilhelm Johannes Steinberg, Elizabeth Reji, Cornel van Rooyen, Anthonio Oladele Adefuye | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 July 2021 | Published: 11 February 2022

About the author(s)

Oscar M. Mabele, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Matthew O.A. Benedict, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Wilhelm J. Steinberg, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Elizabeth Reji, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Cornel van Rooyen, Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Anthonio O. Adefuye, Division of Health Sciences Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Several lifelong maternal, child and societal health benefits have been associated with exclusive breastfeeding (EBF). However, despite all the potential advantages, EBF rates have been consistently low in developing countries, including South Africa. It has been suggested that the knowledge, attitudes and practices of male partners in relation to EBF are amongst the important factors that contribute to the success of EBF practices. Hence, the aim of this study was to determine the knowledge, attitudes and practices of men in Botshabelo, Free State province, South Africa, regarding EBF.

Methods: This study was designed as a cross-sectional analytical study that utilised a structured questionnaire administered to 200 adult men attending the outpatient department of a district hospital, in the Free State province, South Africa.

Results: The majority (n = 83; 41.5%) of participants had poor knowledge of EBF but reported positive attitudes (n = 153, 76.5%) and good practices (n = 151, 75.5%) towards EBF, respectively. Age, levels of education, employment status, marital status and whether the participant accompanied his partner to the antenatal clinic were associated with adequate knowledge, positive attitudes and good practices in relation to EBF (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: The study revealed a suboptimal level of knowledge on EBF in men in Botshabelo. Most men had positive attitudes and reported good practices in relation to EBF. Our findings highlight the need for targeted community-based intervention programmes directed to educating and promoting positive social and cultural change in relation to EBF amongst men in Botshabelo.


Keywords

exclusive breastfeeding; knowledge; attitudes; practice; adult males; South Africa

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