The perceptions, knowledge and experiences of breast-feeding women living with HIV/AIDS in the Oshakati district - Northern Namibia
Kalimba, Hilma Ndesheetulua
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Women, who are HIV-positive, may transmit the virus to their babis during labour and through breast milk. HIV-positive mothers have to be counselled and encouraged to make informed decisions about the feeding of their babies to avoid this transmission. The feeding choices are exclusive breast-feeding , exclusive formula feeeding or modified feeding. this study focused on the perceptions, knowledge and experiences of breastfeeding women living with HIV/AIDS in the Oshakati district, Northern Namibia. A qualitative descriptive research design was used to conduct the study. The sresaerch was conducted at the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) Clinic, in the intermediate Hospital, Oshakati. The Medical Superitendant of the Hospital gave the researcher permission to conduct the study at the PMTCT clinic. A purposive sample was used consisting of 14 breastfeeding women who are HIV-positive and aged between 15-49 years. the ages of their babies were between one day and six months. The data collected through individual face-face-interviews. The interviews were tape-recorded with the permission of the respondents. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and data were analysed by thematic content analysis. The Health Belief Model guided the description and interpretation of the data. Th study revealed that some women had inadequate knowledge about the transmission of HIV through breastfeeding. Their breastfeeding choices were influennced by their knowledge and perceptions while their experiences were shaped by their relationships with their partners and family.