Breastfeeding and common childhood diseases in Zambia: does breastfeeding have a protective effect against diarrhea, fever and acute respiratory infections among children in Zambia?

  • Chabila C Mapoma University of Zambia
  • Caroline Banda University of Zambia
Keywords: ARIs, Breastfeeding, Children, Diarrhea, Fever, Zambia


Background: This paper aimed at answering two specific questions: does breastfeeding reduce the occurrence of ARIs, Fever and Diarrhea in children who are breastfeeding; and is the occurrence of these common childhood diseases affected by duration (period) of breastfeeding?Data source and Method: Secondary analysis of the 2013 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) was applied by using the children recode dataset (ZMKR61FL). Analysis was done at three levels: Descriptive, bivariate and multivariate (Binary and Multinomial Logistics regressions).Results: Results in this paper show that breastfeeding does not protect children against Diarrhea (OR 1.3; 1.1-1.4) but does so against Fever and ARIs (OR 0.9; 0.8-1.0). Children whose mothers were employed were more likely to suffer from all the three disease outcomes compared to those not employed (OR Diarrhea 1.2; Fever 1.5; ARIs 1.2).Conclusion: Diarrhea seems to be more pronounced in children who are breastfeeding than those not breastfeeding, especially those breastfed beyond 6 months.

Author Biographies

Chabila C Mapoma, University of Zambia
Department of Population Studies, School of Humanities ad Social Sciences
Caroline Banda, University of Zambia
Department of Population Studies, School of Humanities and Social Sciences