Feeding practices, morbidity patterns and nutritional status of HIV-exposed infants (6-52 weeks) at Lea Toto community-based program, Dagoretti, Nairobi! County
Macharia, Elizabeth Wairimu
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The population of HIV -exposed children has been growing rapidly. HIV -exposed children have higher mortality and morbidity rates than children born to HIV-uninfected mothers even when feeding patterns are the same. There is a gap between PMTCT knowledge and infant feeding policy as infant feeding counselling does not necessarily translate into appropriate feeding practices irrespective of its quality and quantity. Social and economic factors have not been considered in the formulation of Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) guidelines. The purpose of this study is to determine feeding practices, morbidity patterns and nutrition status of Hlv-exposed children at Lea Toto Community-Based Program, Dagoretti in Nairobi County. [his is a community-based outreach program which provides care to children infected with and affected by HIV in the community through the provision of medical services, nutrition education and rehabilitation and capacity building. Cross-sectional analytical study design will be used. Lea Toto program, will be purposively selected because the centre is one of programs in resource poor settings that offer pediatric HIV care together with nutrition support and has a stabilization centre for severely malnourished children. Comprehensive sampling method will be used whereby the entire group of HIV -exposed infants will be included in the sample. This will result k:> a sample size of approximately 130 infants from the two centres based in Dagoretti. The iample will include infants aged between 6 weeks-12 months born with normal birth weight and vith no congenital deformities attending Lea Toto Program Kawangware. A researcher idministered questionnaire will be used to collect household demographic and socio-economic .haracteristics, anthropometric measurements, morbidity patterns and infant feeding practices among HIV -exposed infants. Indicators of assessing IYCF practices and a seven day food frequency questionnaire will be used to collect data on feeding practices. Focus group 4iscussions will also be conducted. Data will be analysed using SPSS for descriptive and nferential statistics. Data on anthropometry will be analyzed using ENA for SMART package, 10 10 and interpreted through the use of WHO cut off points to determine their nutritional status. A chi-square test will be used to establish the associations between infants, age, demograghic characteristics, and socio-economic characteristicsand infant feeding practices. Pearson's product moment correlation will be used to establish the presence, strength and direction of the relationship bettween nutritional status and feeding practices in HIV -exposed infants.multiple regressions will determine whether -morbidity patterns and dietary bvfactors predict nutritional satus of the child. This study will be of great significant to Non-Governmental Organisations, givemment and other stakeholders interested in addressing infant feeding practices to formulate strategies towards enhancing infant feeding practices that are core in ensuring HIV -free survival of HIV -exposed infants and their nutritional status.