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Perspectives on maternal, infant, and young child nutrition and family planning: Considerations for rollout of integrated services in Mara and Kagera, Tanzania

Journal Article
(Published February, 2019)
Cooper, C.M. (Author),
Kavle, J. A. (Author),
Nyoni, J. (Author),
Drake, M. (Author),
Lemwayi, R. (Author),
Mabuga, L. (Author),
Pfitzer, A. (Author)
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In Lake Zone, Tanzania, low contraceptive prevalence, closely spaced births, and child stunting are common. Synergies exist between postpartum family planning (PPFP) and maternal, infant, and young child nutrition (MIYCN), yet health services are often provided in silos. This qualitative formative research study aimed to identify barriers and facilitating factors for optimal nutrition and PPFP practices in Mara and Kagera, Tanzania. Results informed the program design of an integrated nutrition and family planning (FP) implementation approach. The study involved in-depth interviews with mothers of infants under 1 year (n = 24), grandmothers (n = 12), health providers (n = 6), and traditional birth attendants (n = 12), and 14 focus group discussions with community health workers, fathers, and community leaders. Findings reveal that breastfeeding initiation was often delayed, and prelacteal feeding was common. Respondents linked insufficient breast milk to inadequate maternal nutrition-in terms of the quality of the diet and small quantities of food consumed by mothers. Breast milk insufficiency was addressed through early introduction of foods and liquids. Mothers believed that breastfeeding prevents pregnancy, regardless of the frequency or duration of breastfeeding, yet were generally not aware of the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) of FP. Joint decision-making on FP was viewed as important, and women often discussed it with their partner. Future programming should address misconceptions about return to fecundity knowledge gaps and concerns about FP methods including LAM; and perceptions regarding insufficient breast milk and early introduction of foods which are impediments to optimal MIYCN and FP practices

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Citation: 
Cooper CM, Kavle JA, Nyoni J, Drake M, Lemwayi R, Mabuga L, et al. Perspectives on maternal, infant, and young child nutrition and family planning: Considerations for rollout of integrated services in Mara and Kagera, Tanzania. Matern Child Nutr. 2019;15 Suppl 1:e12735.