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To determine the impact of facility-based semi-intensive and home-based intensive counselling in improving exclusive breast-feeding (EBF) in a low-resource urban setting in Kenya.
A cluster randomized controlled trial in which nine villages were assigned on a 1:1:1 ratio, by computer, to two intervention groups and a control group. The home-based intensive counselling group (HBICG) received seven counselling sessions at home by trained peers, one prenatally and six postnatally. The facility-based semi-intensive counselling group (FBSICG) received only one counselling session prenatally. The control group (CG) received no counselling from the research team. Information on infant feeding practices was collected monthly for 6 months after delivery. The data-gathering team was blinded to the intervention allocation. The outcome was EBF prevalence at 6 months.
Kibera slum, Nairobi.
A total of 360 HIV-negative women, 34–36 weeks pregnant, were selected from an antenatal clinic in Kibera; 120 per study group.
Of the 360 women enrolled, 265 completed the study and were included in the analysis (CG n 89; FBSICG n 87; HBICG n 89). Analysis was by intention to treat. The prevalence of EBF at 6 months was 23·6 % in HBICG, 9·2 % in FBSICG and 5·6 % in CG. HBICG mothers had four times increased likelihood to practise EBF compared with those in the CG (adjusted relative risk = 4·01; 95 % CI 2·30, 7·01; P = 0·001). There was no significant difference between EBF rates in FBSICG and CG.
EBF can be promoted in low socio-economic conditions using home-based intensive counselling. One session of facility-based counselling is not sufficient to sustain EBF.
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