The Role Of Dialogue And Advocacy Communication In Promoting Exclusive Breastfeeding Among Young Mothers (A Case Study Of Young Mothers In Owerri North Local Government Area)

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The Role Of Dialogue And Advocacy Communication In Promoting Exclusive Breastfeeding Among Young Mothers (A Case Study Of Young Mothers In Owerri North Local Government Area)


Dialogue and advocacy communication is very important in all aspect of our lives. It is crucial in the process of communal living. It is the most important avenue for educating, enlightening women in rural areas to participate vigorously in any social change. This study is aimed at assessing the role of dialogue and advocacy in promoting exclusive breastfeeding, to find out the women’s views and discussion on exclusive breastfeeding.

In carrying out this study, survey method was used in obtaining data for the study in all 384 respondents were sampled using purposive sampling techniques and the entire questionnaires distributed were returned. Findings showed that dialogue and advocacy through interpersonal communication helps in promoting exclusive breastfeeding practice in Owerri North L.G.A, by giving room for immediate feedback through verbal responses and non-verbal disclosure. These thereby facilitating behavioural modification and as well empowering them as regards to development.

The outcome of the study also showed that women in Owerri North L.G.A get their major source of breastfeeding information through health that breastfeeding information can be best communicated to them through various women group meeting which is one of the channels of dialogue and advocacy communication more than any other source. The researcher recommended that any programme that will help or encourage the spread of information about exclusive breastfeeding should be embraced or adopted.

Table Of Contents

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Certification
  • Approval page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background to the study
  • 1.2 Statements of problems
  • 1.3 Objectives of study
  • 1.4 Research questions
  • 1.5 Scope of the study
  • 1.6 Limitation of the study
  • 1.7 Significance of the study
  • 1.8 Definition of terms

Chapter Two:

Literature Review

  • 2.1 Sources of literature
  • 2.2 The definition of exclusive breastfeeding
  • 2.2.1 Brief history of breastfeeding
  • 2.2.2 The role of community dialogue and advocacy in promoting exclusive breastfeeding among young mothers in Owerri North L.G.A
  • 2.2.3 Benefits of exclusive breastfeeding
  • 2.2.4 Health communication and advocacy on Breastfeeding practice
  • 2.2.5 Health issues involved in breastfeeding
  • 2.2.6 Role of exclusive breastfeeding in infant health outcomes
  • 2.3 Theoretical frame work
  • 2.3.1 Attitude and attitude exchange theory 2.3.2 Social Exchange theory
  • 2.4 Summary of the review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research design
  • 3.2 Area of study
  • 3.3 Population of study
  • 3.4 Sources of data
  • 3.5 Sample/sampling procedures
  • 3.6 Instrument for data collection
  • 3.7 Validity of the instrument
  • 3.8 Administration of instrument
  • 3.9 Method of data analysis

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation And Analysis

  • 4.1 Demographic data
  • 4.2 Answers to research questions
  • 4.3 Discussion of findings

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion And Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • References
  • Appendix
  • Questionnaires

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Study

Following recent survey by the federal ministry of health in August, 2012 shows that Nigeria has one of the lowest exclusive breastfeeding rates in the Africa continent with recent data indicating that the percentage of infants exclusively breastfed to the age of six months has decreased from 17 percent, while early initiation of complementary feeding before the age of six months puts at 76 percent.

This is as a result of misinformation and misunderstanding on exclusive breastfeeding among young mothers resulting to increase in infant deaths in the country. Lack of public awareness about benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. Lack of conducive working environment for nursing mothers, marketing of breast milk substitutes and attributes of some health workers and family members are fingered as reasons why many children are deprived of breastfeeding.

Chris Osa Isokpunwu, Deputy Director/Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health, said that breastfeeding is the best way to provide new born with essential nutrients they need as it is a window of children’s survival, optional growth and development into adolescence and adulthood. Further more, research has shown that healthy infants do not need additional water during the first 6 months if they are exclusively breastfeed because breast milk contains the nutrients an infant needs in the first 6 months of life, including fat, protein, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals and water. While breast milk is easily digested and efficiently used, it contains bioactive factors that augment infant’s immature immune system providing protection against infection and other factors that help digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Due to the fact that Nigeria has one of the lowest exclusive breastfeeding rates in the African Continent till date breastfeeding awareness information has been ongoing and it is not only for the women in the universal present campaign initiative, everyone is involved in the timing, place and strategies for passing the right information to the in the best ways that would be appreciated by the mothers, the family and the society.

Communication is an essential part of promoting and supporting exclusive breastfeeding, individuals and communities connect across small and great distances at an instant notice through communication. According to Brownlee, (199), “New lines of communication are being created everyday and we have the ability to use these information channels to broaden our horizons and can spread exclusive breastfeeding beyond our immediate time and place the reason, range ignorance to traditional beliefs, one of which has to do with water, whereby water are used as breast milk supplement.

Scientific evidence shows that the child’s immune system is not fully developed to fight infections which emanate from giving water or other fluids. If we must improve our breastfeeding practices and increase our exclusive breastfeeding rate, then we must tackle the issue of using water as breast milk supplement and focus on engaging and mobilizing young methods and deal with communication at various levels and between various sectors. Breastfeeding practices including initiation and duration are influenced by multiple interwoven factors which include health, psycho-social, cultural, political and economic factors.

Among these factors, decisions regarding initiation and duration of breastfeeding in low-income countries are influenced by education, empowerment, place of delivery, family pressure, environmental residence and cultural values in Nigeria. The early introduction of complementary feeding base on erroneous assumptions affects breastfeeding initiation and sustainability. Among the Yoruba people, a common belief about exclusive breastfeeding is that it is beneficial to both mother and infants but complementary feeding is essential for babies to adopt bit with ease. Exclusive breastfeeding helps the mother to accelerate recovery of pre-pregnancy weight and also have less than 2 percept risk of becoming pregnant in the first 6 months of postpartum.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

The search for effective means of achieving optimal breastfeeding between the governments, different health organizations and the women is a continuous and sustained one. And as the day goes by, most infants are faced with fresh challenges regarding to the absence of breastfeeding at birth time.

The country is viewed critically, has one of the poorest breastfeeding rates in Africa whereby 13 percent are exclusively breastfed for complete 6 months, resulting to infant mortality and many protected by bringing to their knowledge the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. Since breastfeeding reduces the mothers risk of fatal post partum hemorrhage and premonopausal breast and ovarian cancer.

However, health communication through advocacy and dialogue strategy is seen as one of the best way of passing the right information that would be acknowledged by mothers, the family and the society. This study is therefore focused on exploring functional communication patterns that can be used as an active strategy for effective breastfeeding practice in Nigeria. Against this background, the study is also out to know whether advocacy and dialogue communication could help in creating favourable awareness about breastfeeding practice in young mothers.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

  1. To identify other facts, that elicit exclusive breastfeeding acceptance.
  2. To find out the medium through which women get most frequent information on breastfeeding.
  3. To inform the women about the benefit of exclusive breastfeeding.
  4. To find out through empirical means the level of awareness on the issue of breastfeeding among women.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What factors are responsible for the audience of exclusive breastfeeding?
  2. Which medium do you get information about exclusive breastfeeding?
  3. Which information have you gotten about exclusive breastfeeding?
  4. How aware or informed are you on the exclusive breastfeeding practice?

1.5 Scope Of The Study

The interest of this study lies on young women in Owerri North L.G.A. The story picks Owerri North L.G.A in Imo state as the area where the research will be carried out. The aim is to bring out findings that will be relevant to all young women in the locality and Nigeria at large, over the acceptance of exclusive breastfeeding practice to their infant child.

1.6 Limitations Of The Study

Various problems was encountered in this study, the researcher was faced with limited time which affected the duration the work and finding were done. Educational challenges, a due to the level of illiteracy among the women, the researcher founds it difficult to interact and pass across the information he had for them. Religious belief is also one of the major problem the researcher encounter, the mothers found it difficult to accept the information being passed across especially when the issue of not giving water or any kind of fluid was raised.

1.7 Significance Of The Study

Almighty students research abounds in this area, this work will serve as an addition to existing literature on this topic. It would also document on the medium of communication of exclusive breastfeeding programmes in the local government which would help the various communication agents such as community leaders or private bodies to appreciate their efforts and peculiarities more.

The study would also be help in promoting and improving exclusive breastfeeding practice and increase breastfeeding rate by talking the issues of giving infant water and other fluids. This project would also provide retrospect to young women in Owerri North L.G.A and Nigeria women at large on the benefits derivable in exclusive breastfeeding on child development impact on neonatal and infant survival and health impact on child nutrition.

It is hoped that the end of this exercise, it will be handy enough to make further academic interest on the subject matter and closer analysis of specialized areas like films and others maybe provoked so that it would inspire further breastfeeding.

Finally, the study intends to ass to existing scarce literature in the area of interpersonal communication and breastfeeding.

1.8 Definition Of Terms

Exclusive Breastfeeding:

Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk. No other liquid or solids are given not even water with the exception of oral dehydration solution, or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals and medicines in the first 6months of birth.


Advocacy is an adaptive process of gathering, organizing and formulating of ideas to influence policy and decision makers to fight for changes. Also advocacy can be defined as a research that is carried out with the intention of providing evidence and argument that can be used to support a particular cause or position.


Dialogue is a focused and intentional conversation, a space of civility and equality in which those who differ may listen and speak together. It is also a way of being mindful and creative relating. In dialogue, we seek to set aside fears, preconceptions, the need to win; we take time to hear other voices and possibilities. It can encompass tension and paradoxes, and in so doing, new ideas collective wisdom may arise.


This is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing or using some other medium. It can also be said or defined as the activity of conveying information through the exchange of ideas, feeling, intentions, attitudes, expectations, perceptions or commands.

Exclusive Breastfeeding:

This means giving the baby no other food or drink except breast milk for the first six (6) months of birth. Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS), drops and syrups (vitamins, medicines and minerals) can be given to the child during the first six months.


Advocacy is an adaptive process of gathering, organizing and formulating of ideas to influence policy and decision makers to fight for social change.


Dialogue is a way of being mindful and creative relating. Dialogue seeks to set aside fears, preconceptions,. The need to win; it takes time to hear others voices and possibilities. It can encompass tension and paradoxes and in so doing, new ideas – collective wisdom may arise.


Communication is the reciprocal, mutual, honest and effective transmission of feelings, thoughts and ideas between two or more parties.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion And Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This study was designed to asses the role of dialogue and advocacy communication in promoting exclusive breast feeding practices among young mother’s in Owerri North L.G.A in Imo State. The use of dialogue and advocacy communication approach appears to be an enterable approach in empowering the women on exclusive breast feeding. Dialogue and advocacy through interpersonal communication made it easier to decode the exclusive breast feeding information across to the women.

Also this study made it crystal clear that exclusive breast feeding is no doubt the best for every new born baby and it is beneficial for both mother and child. It revealed the risk of introducing breast milk substitutes to an infant within the first six (6) months of life.

Finally, the survey research method was used this study, this was chosen because it focuses on representative sample derived from the entire population of the study and purposive. Sampling was adopted because of the homogeneous nature of the population and to meet its specific objectives. Dialogue and advocacy communication was used to remark attitudes, behaviors that will promote the acceptance exclusive breast feeding.

5.3 Conclusion

Following the data gathered, analyzed and findings obtained the study came to the conclusion that exclusive breastfeeding is beneficial to the mother and baby and it plays the role of reducing the rate of diseases and infections that causes infant mortality in the society and country at large.

Also it states that adequate breast feeding counseling, discussions and support are essential for mothers and families to initiate and maintain optimal breast feeding practices.

Finally the study made it obvious that dialogue and advocacy communication through interpersonal communication helps in promoting exclusive breast feeding among woman in the locality and that majority of the respondents get information on exclusive breastfeeding through health care centers.

5.3 Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, the researcher came up with the recommendations below:

  1. Health organizations should enlighten mothers more about the negative impact of introducing breast milk substitutes within the first 6 months of birth.
  2. Any programme that will help or encourage the spread of information about exclusive breastfeeding should be embraced.
  3. Information about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding should be given to mothers especially these dwelling in the rural areas.
  4. Seminars should be conducted to educate young and intending mothers about the positive impact of exclusive breastfeeding and the negative impact or risk they put themselves and their new born baby’s if they seize to adopt the exclusive breastfeeding practice.
  5. Exclusive breastfeeding should be embraced to help reduce infections and diseases caused by early introduction of breast milk substitutes so as to help in the reduction of infant mortality rate in our society and country at large.
  6. Health organization should come up with measures that will help in the reduction or scarcity of breast milk substitutes in our communities and country at large so as to make it difficult for mothers to purchase or lay their eyes on.

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