Society of African Journal Editors

Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology

Caregiver feeding practices in Sierra Leone

Authors: Boniface Francis Kalanda, Asseneth Jerotich Cheboi

Journal: Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology

Sierra Leone is a basis for developing a community based Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme. Using a set of questions in a household survey, it was found that 92% of children are given breast milk as their first food. However, for 39% of children, breastfeeding stops after 40 days.  46% of the children were not breastfed exclusively until six months. 28% of the children did not get three meals per day, and 13% of the mothers reported that the child had insufficient food. Only 86% of mothers had a positive assessment of the quality of food they give to their child. Low degree of diversity in the diet was observed for 38% of children who consume less than 3 types of food. Children whose diet is undiversified represent the majority of those who do not eat fruits and vegetables or protein. Sierra Leone needs to implement a parental feeding counselling programme to improve quality of feeding practices for children. This would reduce stunting and other poor nutritional outcomes. Key words: Parent, child, feeding, practices, early childhood development (ECD).