Health facility delivery and early initiation of breastfeeding : Cross‐sectional survey of 11 sub‐Saharan African countries

Edward K. AMEYAW, Kenneth S. ADDE, Jones A. PAINTSIL, Kwamena S. DICKSON, Olanrewaju OLADIMEJI, Sanni YAYA*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background and Aims
Early initiation of breastfeeding (EIB) remains one of the promising interventions for preventing neonatal and child deaths. EIB is positively associated with healthcare delivery or childbirth. Meanwhile, no study in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) appears to have investigated the relationship between health facility delivery and EIB; thus, we assessed the correlation between health facility delivery and EIB.

We used data from the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of 64,506 women from 11 SSA countries. The outcome variable was whether the respondent had early breastfeeding or not. Two logistic regression models were used in the inferential analysis. With a 95% confidence interval (CI), the adjusted odds ratios (aORs) for each variable were calculated. The data set was stored, managed, and analyzed using Stata version 13.

The overall percentage of women who initiated early breastfeeding was 59.22%. Rwanda recorded the highest percentage of early initiation of breastfeeding (86.34%), while Gambia recorded the lowest (39.44%). The adjusted model revealed a significant association between health facility delivery and EIB (aOR = 1.80, CI = 1.73–1.87). Compared with urban women, rural women had higher likelihood of initiating early breastfeeding (aOR = 1.22, CI = 1.16–1.27). Women with a primary education (aOR = 1.26, CI = 1.20–1.32), secondary education (aOR = 1.12, CI = 1.06–1.17), and higher (aOR = 1.13, CI = 1.02–1.25), all had higher odds of initiating early breastfeeding. Women with the richest wealth status had the highest odds of initiating early breastfeeding as compared to the poorest women (aOR = 1.33, CI = 1.23–1.43).

Based on our findings, we strongly advocate for the integration of EIB policies and initiatives with healthcare delivery advocacy. Integration of these efforts can result in drastic reduction in infant and child mortality. Essentially, Gambia and other countries with a lower proclivity for EIB must reconsider their current breastfeeding interventions and conduct the necessary reviews and modifications that can lead to an increase in EIB
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1263
JournalHealth Science Reports
Issue number5
Early online date11 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the MEASURE DHS project for their support and for free access to the original data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Health Science Reports published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • early initiation of breastfeeding
  • global health
  • neonatal health
  • newborn
  • sub-Saharan Africa


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