The study aimed to determine related statistics on maternal health and nutrition and infant and young child feeding and to test for association between selected maternal health and nutrition practices and maternal and household characteristics.
Maternal health and nutrition and infant and young child feeding (IYCF) are two separate components of the 8th National Nutrition Survey conducted in June to November 2014 and February to April 2015. For maternal health and nutrition, respondents were mothers with children 0-36 months old and all pregnant women from the randomly-selected households. For IYCF, mothers were asked on the feeding practices of their children 0-23 months old and the child’s food intake the previous day using 24-hour food recall. Descriptive statistics and test of association of different maternal and feeding practices with selected maternal and household characteristics were determined using Stata version 12.0.
Teenage pregnant mothers were more nutritionally-at-risk and anemic (37.4% and 30.6%) than older mothers (22.6% and 25.4%). By timing of first prenatal care, 28.9% of pregnant mothers had their first prenatal at 4 to 6 months and 2.4% at 7 to 9 months. By place of delivery, 79.4% newborns were delivered in a health facility and 20.5% were still delivered at home. Newborns delivered in private health facilities were the least initiated to breastfeeding compared with those delivered in public hospitals and clinics and born at home. The timing of breastfeeding initiation among children 0-5 months and their feeding practice at the time of the survey were tracked. Results showed that 0-5 months old children initiated to breastfeed more than one hour after delivery were introduced earlier to complementary foods (31.8 vis-a-vis 16.7) andgiven breastmilk substitutes more often (20.3 vis-a-vis 15.0) compared to children initiated to breastfeed within 1 hour after birth. Wider socio-economic disparities were noted between the richest and the poorest on the timing of first prenatal care, delivery at health facility, assistance by health attendants and caesarean delivery. Narrower disparities were noted on mothers’ knowledge on breastfeeding by wealth quintiles but the practice of exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding at 1 year was higher among mothers from the poorest quintile.
Teenage pregnant women are more at risk of becoming chronic energy deficient and anemic while older mothers are more at risk of being overweight and obese. Mothers with higher educational attainment and living in urban areas had a higher proportion in terms of getting prenatal care, right timing of prenatal care, supplement intake and health facility delivery.There is a need to improve mothers’ knowledge and practices on maternal health and nutrition and empower them to avail of the services of a health facility; access to an integrated Maternal Neonatal and Child Heallth and Nutrition (MNCHN) service package needs to be close to their places of residence.