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1.  Breastfeeding and the risk of rotavirus diarrhea in hospitalized infants in Uganda: a matched case control study 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:17.
Background
Rotavirus is responsible for over 25 million outpatient visits, over 2 million hospitalizations and 527,000 deaths annually, worldwide. It is estimated that breastfeeding in accordance with the World Health Organization recommendations would save 1.45 million children's lives each year in the developing countries. The few studies that examined the effect of breastfeeding on rotavirus diarrhea produced conflicting results. This study aimed to determine the effect of breastfeeding on rotavirus diarrhea among admitted infants in Uganda.
Methods
The study was conducted in the Pediatrics medical emergency unit of a National Referral hospital during a peak incidence time for rotavirus from February to April 2008. It was an age matched case-control study with a ratio of 1:1. We consecutively enrolled infants presenting at the study site during this period whose caretakers consented to participate in the study. A minimum sample size of 90 pairs was adequate with power of 80% to detect a 30% decrease in breastfeeding rate among the cases assuming a breastfeeding rate of 80% in the controls. The infants with rotavirus positive results were the "cases". We used the commercial enzyme immunoassay kit (DAKO IDEIA™ rotavirus EIA detection kit) to diagnose the cases. The "controls" were admitted children with no diarrhea. We compared the cases and controls for antecedent breastfeeding patterns.
Results
Ninety-one matched case-control age-matched pairs with an age caliper of one month were included in the analysis. Breastfeeding was not protective against rotavirus diarrhea (OR 1.08: 95% CI 0.52 - 2.25; p = 0.8) in the conditional logistic model.
Conclusions
Our study findings did not reveal breastfeeding as protective against rotavirus diarrhea in infants. This suggests searching for other complementary preventive methods such as rotavirus vaccination and zinc supplementation to reduce the problem of rotavirus diarrhea in infants irrespective of their feeding practices.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-17
PMCID: PMC3049117  PMID: 21329521
2.  Need to optimise infant feeding counselling: A cross-sectional survey among HIV-positive mothers in Eastern Uganda 
BMC Pediatrics  2009;9:2.
Background
The choice of infant feeding method is important for HIV-positive mothers in order to optimise the chance of survival of their infants and to minimise the risk of HIV transmission. The aim of this study was to investigate feeding practices, including breastfeeding, in the context of PMTCT for infants and children under two years of age born to HIV-positive mothers in Uganda.
Methods
In collaboration with The Aids Support Organisation Mbale, we conducted a cross-sectional survey involving 235 HIV-positive mothers in Uganda. Infant feeding practices, reasons for stopping breastfeeding, and breast health problems were studied. Breastfeeding duration was analysed using the Kaplan-Meier method based on retrospective recall.
Results
Breastfeeding was initiated by most of the mothers, but 20 of them (8.5%) opted exclusively for replacement feeding. Pre-lacteal feeding was given to 150 (64%) infants and 65 (28%) practised exclusive breastfeeding during the first three days. One-fifth of the infants less than 6 months old were exclusively breastfed, the majority being complementary fed including breast milk. The median duration of breastfeeding was 12 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.5 to 12.5). Adjusted Cox regression analysis indicated that a mother's education, socio-economic status, participation in the PMTCT-program and her positive attitude to breastfeeding exclusively, were all associated with a reduction in breastfeeding duration. Median duration was 3 months (95% CI 0–10.2) among the most educated mothers, and 18 months (95% CI 15.0–21.0) among uneducated mothers. Participation in the PMTCT program and being socio-economically better-off were also associated with earlier cessation of breastfeeding (9 months [95% CI 7.2–10.8] vs. 14 months [95% CI 10.8–17.2] and 8 months [95% CI 5.9–10.1] vs. 17 months [95% CI 15.2–18.8], respectively). The main reasons for stopping breastfeeding were reported as: advice from health workers, maternal illness, and the HIV-positive status of the mother.
Conclusion
Exclusive breastfeeding was uncommon. Exclusive replacement feeding was practised by few HIV-positive mothers. Well-educated mothers, mothers who were socio-economically better-off and PMTCT-attendees had the shortest durations of breastfeeding. Further efforts are needed to optimise infant feeding counselling and to increase the feasibility of the recommendations.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-9-2
PMCID: PMC2657132  PMID: 19134187
3.  Boys are more stunted than girls in Sub-Saharan Africa: a meta-analysis of 16 demographic and health surveys 
BMC Pediatrics  2007;7:17.
Background
Many studies in sub-Saharan Africa have occasionally reported a higher prevalence of stunting in male children compared to female children. This study examined whether there are systematic sex differences in stunting rates in children under-five years of age, and how the sex differences in stunting rates vary with household socio-economic status.
Methods
Data from the most recent 16 demographic and health surveys (DHS) in 10 sub-Saharan countries were analysed. Two separate variables for household socio-economic status (SES) were created for each country based on asset ownership and mothers' education. Quintiles of SES were constructed using principal component analysis. Sex differentials with stunting were assessed using Student's t-test, chi square test and binary logistic regressions.
Results
The prevalence and the mean z-scores of stunting were consistently lower amongst females than amongst males in all studies, with differences statistically significant in 11 and 12, respectively, out of the 16 studies. The pooled estimates for mean z-scores were -1.59 for boys and -1.46 for girls with the difference statistically significant (p < 0.001). The stunting prevalence was also higher in boys (40%) than in girls (36%) in pooled data analysis; crude odds ratio 1.16 (95% CI 1.12–1.20); child age and individual survey adjusted odds ratio 1.18 (95% CI 1.14–1.22). Male children in households of the poorest 40% were more likely to be stunted compared to females in the same group, but the pattern was not consistent in all studies, and evaluation of the SES/sex interaction term in relation to stunting was not significant for the surveys.
Conclusion
In sub-Saharan Africa, male children under five years of age are more likely to become stunted than females, which might suggest that boys are more vulnerable to health inequalities than their female counterparts in the same age groups. In several of the surveys, sex differences in stunting were more pronounced in the lowest SES groups.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-7-17
PMCID: PMC1865375  PMID: 17425787
4.  Low adherence to exclusive breastfeeding in Eastern Uganda: A community-based cross-sectional study comparing dietary recall since birth with 24-hour recall 
BMC Pediatrics  2007;7:10.
Background
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended as the best feeding alternative for infants up to six months and has a protective effect against mortality and morbidity. It also seems to lower HIV-1 transmission compared to mixed feeding. We studied infant feeding practices comparing dietary recall since birth with 24-hour dietary recall.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey on infant feeding practices was performed in Mbale District, Eastern Uganda in 2003 and 727 mother-infant (0–11 months) pairs were analysed. Four feeding categories were made based on WHO's definitions: 1) exclusive breastfeeding, 2) predominant breastfeeding, 3) complementary feeding and 4) replacement feeding. We analyzed when the infant fell into another feeding category for the first time. This was based on the recall since birth. Life-table analysis was made for the different feeding categories and Cox regression analysis was done to control for potential associated factors with the different practices. Prelacteal feeding practices were also addressed.
Results
Breastfeeding was practiced by 99% of the mothers. Dietary recall since birth showed that 7% and 0% practiced exclusive breastfeeding by 3 and 6 months, respectively, while 30% and 3% practiced predominant breastfeeding and had not started complementary feeding at the same points in time. The difference between the 24-hour recall and the recall since birth for the introduction of complementary feeds was 46 percentage points at two months and 59 percentage points at four months. Prelacteal feeding was given to 57% of the children. High education and formal marriage were protective factors against prelacteal feeding (adjusted OR 0.5, 0.2 – 1.0 and 0.5, 0.3 – 0.8, respectively).
Conclusion
Even if breastfeeding is practiced at a very high rate, the use of prelacteal feeding and early introduction of other food items is the norm. The 24-hour recall gives a higher estimate of exclusive breastfeeding and predominant breastfeeding than the recall since birth. The 24-hour recall also detected improper infant feeding practices especially in the second half year of life. The dietary recall since birth might be a feasible alternative to monitor infant feeding practices in resource-poor settings. Our study reemphasizes the need for improving infant feeding practices in Eastern Uganda.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-7-10
PMCID: PMC1828054  PMID: 17331251

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