Dr. Harish Kumar*, Dr. N.S.Mahantshetti**, Dr. R. M. Bellad ***
Dept. of Pediatrics, JNMC, Belgaum. *, Dept. of Pediatrics, JNMC, Belgaum. **, Dept. of Pediatrics, JNMC, Belgaum.***
Introduction: To know the effectiveness of peer counseling in promoting optimal breastfeeding practices in our setup, a one year randomized control trial was conducted in subcenter in Belgaum district in the year 2001-2002. This study found that peer counseling was an effective intervention in improving the breastfeeding practices.

After two years of completion of the study we conducted this study to know the sustainability of previous peer counseling on the breast finding practices in the area.

Aims and Objectives: To asses the sustainability of peer counseling in promotion of optimal breastfeeding practices in the community two years after completion of intervention.

Type of Study: Cross-sectional study

Materials & Methods: This cross sectional study was conducted in a subcenter Sindolli in Belgaum district covering a population of 5000 wherein 2 years back randomized control trial was don in the form of peer counseling about breast feeding practices in the community. The results were analyzed and statistical tests were applied wherever necessary.

Results: The study showed that 92% of mothers were aware of peer counselors in the community and all opined that their support was useful. Exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months rose to 84% from 72.72%, 68% of mothers were examined for retracted nipples during pregnancy. Done in 62% with prelacteal feeds given in 8%. The comparative figures were 41.82% and 20% respectively. The increase in incidence of initiation within half an hour was statistically significant.

Discussion: Despite the government and non-governmental organizations like BPNI, WABA's commitment to promote optional breast-feeding practices through multisectorial efforts like ICDS, RCH programmes and BFHI programmes the statistics show that exclusive breast-feeding up to 6 months is only in 16%. Percentage of babies breastfed within one hour of birth in 15.8%. To know the sustainability of peer counseling in the study area we did this cross sectional study. The survey showed that in spite of the study been withdrawn 2 years back, the peer. The results of survey when analyzed for initiation of breastfeeding and promotion of exclusive breast-feeding up to 6 months were much higher when compared to the study period. This could be due to the increased awareness of appropriate breastfeeding practices in the community. It also shows that the cascading effect of promotion of breast-feeding has set in, which is essential for any programme to be sustainable in the community. In our study, this has set in quite early that is in 2 years when compared to other studies which took a longer time. Many multicentric studies are recommended to demonstrate this effect.

Conclusion: Peer counseling is not only an effective community-based intervention for promotion of optimal breastfeeding practices but also sustainable and hence needs to be implemented to increase the exclusive breast-feeding rates in the community.
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Kumar H D, N.S.Mahantshetti D, Bellad M R D.. Available From : Conference_abstracts/report.aspx?reportid=169
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