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Gaps in international nutrition and child feeding guidelines: a look at the nutrition and young child feeding education of Ghanaian nurses

  • Jennie N Davis (a1), Helen Brown (a2) and Samantha A Ramsay (a1)



To examine the nutrition and young child feeding (YCF) education and training of nurses in public health clinics of Ghana’s Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem region (KEEA) in relation to global health guidelines, and how nurses served as educators for caregivers with children aged 0–5 years.


A qualitative study of semi-structured one-on-one and group interviews (n 21) following a questionnaire of closed- and open-ended questions addressing child feeding, nutrition and global health recommendations. Interviews were conducted in English, audio-recorded, transcribed and coded. Descriptive data were tabulated. Content analysis identified themes from open-ended questions.


KEEA public health clinics (n 12).


Nurses (n 41) purposefully recruited from KEEA clinics.


A model capturing nurses’ nutrition and YCF education emerged with five major themes: (i) adequacy of nurses’ basic knowledge in breast-feeding, complementary feeding, iron-deficiency anaemia, YCF and hygiene; (ii) nurses’ delivery of nutrition and YCF information; (iii) nurses’ evaluation of children’s health status to measure education effectiveness; (iv) nurses’ perceived barriers of caregivers’ ability to implement nutrition and YCF education; and (v) a gap in global health recommendations on YCF practices for children aged 2–5 years.


Nurses demonstrated adequate nutrition and YCF knowledge, but reported a lack of in-depth nutrition knowledge and YCF education for children 2–5 years of age, specifically education and knowledge of YCF beyond complementary feeding. To optimize child health outcomes, a greater depth of nutrition and YCF education is needed in international health guidelines.

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