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, Caroline Banda


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.


ARIs, Breastfeeding, Children, Diarrhea, Fever, Zambia

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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