Demography, Knowledge-Gap Effect and Exclusive Breastfeeding Campaign in Lagos and Ogun States, Nigeria

  •  Kolade Ajilore    
  •  Helen Ambassador-Brikins    
  •  Kevin Onyenankeya    


Resistance to six-months exclusive breastfeeding remains pervasive among mothers in spite of the numerous health and economic benefits of breastfeeding. Experts attribute the nonchalance towards exclusive breastfeeding to several factors, including myths and traditional beliefs as well as fear that breastfeeding weakens the breast fibre and consequently, quickens the sagging of the breast and the woman’s sexual appeal. In Nigeria, government and non-governmental agencies continue to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. The purpose of this paper was to investigate the influence of socio-economic variables on the awareness, knowledge and adoption of the six months exclusive breastfeeding campaign in two Nigerian states.

A mixed methods design was employed. First, a series of in-depth interviews was conducted with six health care workers in Lagos and Ogun States. Thereafter, 1500 copies of a questionnaire containing16 items were administered to a purposively drawn sample of lactating mothers whose babies fell within the age range of 0 and 12 months.

The results showed a high awareness level of the six-months exclusive breastfeeding campaign. Chi Square test suggests that the socio economic status of women does not significantly influence their awareness of the six months exclusive breastfeeding (p>0.060). Similarly, respondents’ educational levels showed no significant influence on their knowledge of six months exclusive breastfeeding (p > 0.070).

Contrary to the thesis of the knowledge gap communication theory, awareness does not depend on socio economic status. In all, demographics of women in Lagos and Ogun states do not influence their awareness, knowledge and adoption of six months exclusive breastfeeding.

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