Assessment of Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices and Household feeding practices among Refugees from DRC in Lunda Norte, Angola: Report from Focus Group Discussions (Cacanda Reception Center - August 2017)

Key Findings

  • Overall, there were not major changes in the feeding practices before leaving DRC and after arriving in Angola; the major difference was seen in the number of meals and variety of complementary foods provided to the infants and children.

  • Mothers seem aware of the importance of breastfeeding, and early initiation of breastfeeding is the common practice among refugees.

  • Although breastfeeding is well perceived and common, the practices do not comply with the recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months after birth. Water, tea, sugar, and maize porridge are the usually the first foods to be introduced in infants’ diet, normally at the age of 2-4 months.

  • The limited financial resources of the families in the center hamper the provision of adequate and diverse complementary foods for young children.

  • Mothers face difficulties in preparing the food for children due to the precarious conditions in which families are currently living, and the limited access to cooking utensils/tools.

  • Short spacing of pregnancies is one of the main reasons for early termination of breastfeeding.

  • Wet-nursing is not common or well perceived in DRC. However there are a few cases in the center where another woman is breastfeeding an orphan infant.

  • Since leaving their village in DRC, families have reduced the number meals from 3-4 to 1 per day. Children under 5 years old currently eat 1-2 daily meals.

Purpose

This focus group discussion (FGD) aimed to provide initial insights on the breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices among mothers and caregivers of infants and young children refugees from Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Lunda Norte, with the objective to guide future nutrition interventions and communications with this population.

The main topics assessed were breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices, and any factors disrupting these practices after leaving DRC. In addition, the FGD also included questions on household food security. The groups discussed general practices, in order to reach a consensus (as much as possible) about the situation in the community.