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Justin B. Tongun: A probe into determinants of breastfeeding practices, child morbidity and mortality in South Sudan

Creating awareness on the determinants of suboptimal breastfeeding practices in South Sudan is the goal behind Justin Bruno Tongun’s research

Justin Bruno Tongun
Photo:
CIH

Tongun is a PhD candidate from South Sudan where he works as a lecturer at College of Medicine of the University of Juba, South Sudan. Before joining CIH’s PhD program, Justin has secured his Masters degree in Pediatric and Child Health form Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

Currently Justin is working on a study entitled “Determinants of breastfeeding practices, child morbidity and mortality in South Sudan”.

Justin’s decision to investigate this issue came due to the perceived lack of information among parents (mothers) on breastfeeding practices in South Sudan. Referring to researches he says optimal breastfeeding improves child survival and may save the lives of about 14% (823,000) children under-5 years of age annually in low and middle income countries. Contrary to this suboptimal breastfeeding is associated with 45% neonatal mortality, 30% diarrheal deaths and 18% of acute respiratory deaths in children under-5 years.

According to Justin understanding the determinants of suboptimal breastfeeding might spur health staff and policy makers to develop intervention that may promote, protect, and support optimal breastfeeding practices in order reduce preventable infectious diseases and deaths in children. To that end, the study has tried to asses the prevalence and predictors of delayed initiation of breastfeeding; pre-lacteal feeding, exclusive breastfeeding and their association with diarrhoea, acute respiratory tract infection and infant mortality in South Sudan.

The survey was conducted in two locations namely in Juba Teaching Hospital and in a rural community located in Jubek State, South Sudan.

Justin is hopeful that upon completion, the research will generate base-line data for future research, improve practice in among health professionals and foster policy makers to design strategies and programs to promote, protect and support optimal breastfeeding practices and prevent child morbidity and mortality in South Sudan.