Determinants of Exclusive Breastfeeding Practices in Kandahar, Afghanistan: A Cross-Sectional Analytical Study


1 Associate Professor and Head, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Kandahar University, Kandahar, Afghanistan.

2 Head of Comprehensive Health Clinic, Mirza Mohammad Khan Qalacha CHC, Kandahar Directorate of Public Health, Kandahar, Afghanistan.

3 Assistant Professor and Head, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Kandahar University, Kandahar, Afghanistan.

4 Professor and Head, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kandahar University, Kandahar, Afghanistan.


It is recommended for mothers to start breastfeeding their infants within the first hour after birth and exclusively breastfeed them for the first 6 months of their life. Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) has both short- and long-term benefits for both mother and infant. Main objective of this study was to establish the determinants of EBF practices among mothers in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Materials and Methods
This was a cross-sectional analytical study conducted in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Researcher-made questionnaire was used to collect the data from 1,028 mothers with children (June–November, 2018). Data was analysed using SPSS software version 22.0
Among 1,028 mothers, 95.9% were uneducated, 53.9% had low socio-economic status, and 94.2% had ante-natal care (ANC) visits. EBF rate was 51.2% (526/1028). During first 6 months of life, 11.1% of the infants were given foods other than milk while 51.4% used pacifier. Weaning was started in nearly half (49.2%) of the infants before 6 months of age. Main barriers to EBF were living in city, male gender, giving sedative syrup (Promethazine) to infant, breastfeeding the infant ≥8 times in 24 hours, and giving expressed milk.
EBF rate in Kandahar is better than many parts of the world, but there are still many barriers that need to be removed. Main barriers of EBF rate in Kandahar needs to be decreased by increasing the health education and overall education status of the mothers.