Issaka, Abukari I.; Agho, Kingsley E.; N. Page, Andrew; L. Burns, Penelope; Stevens, Garry J.; Dibley, Michael J.
The problem of suboptimal complementary feeding practices in West Africa: what is the way forward?
The objective of this paper was to review the policy implications of inadequate complementary feeding among children aged 6–23 months in West Africa. The review was undertaken from the initial results and findings from a series of studies on the comparison of complementary feeding indicators among children aged 6–23 months in four anglophones and seven francophone West African countries. It also examined a study of the determinants of suboptimal complementary feeding practices among children aged 6–23 months in those countries. Among the four complementary feeding indicators, it was only the introduction of solid, semi‐solid or soft foods that was adequate among children in all the West African countries surveyed. The rates of the other complementary feeding indicators were found to be inadequate in all countries surveyed, although relatively better among children in the anglophone countries. Alarmingly, low rates of minimum acceptable diet were reported among children from both the anglophone and the francophone countries. Infants 6–11 months of age, children living in poor households, administrative / geographical regional differences and mothers’ access to the media were some of the common risk factors for optimal complementary feeding practices in these countries. Assessing complementary feeding indicators and determinants of suboptimal complementary feeding practices in these West African countries is crucial to improving infant and young child feeding practices. It is recommended that governments and stakeholders of the West African countries studied make greater efforts to improve these critical practices in order to reduce child morbidity and mortality in the West Africa sub‐region. Intervention studies on complementary feeding should target those socio‐demographic factors that pose risks to optimal complementary feeding.
Authors: Issaka, Abukari I.; Agho, Kingsley E.; N. Page, Andrew; L. Burns, Penelope; Stevens, Garry J.; Dibley, Michael J.