Work-related factors affecting exclusive breastfeeding among employed women in ethiopia: Managers’ perspective using a qualitative approach

Kahsu Gebrekidan, Virginia Plummer, Ensieh Fooladi, Helen Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Only 21% of employed mothers in Ethiopia breastfeed exclusively until six months. Evidence from other countries has shown that support from managers encourages mothers to continue breastfeeding. Whereas lack of physical resources, time for breastfeed-ing and supportive policies adversely impact the continuation of breastfeeding. The aim of this study was to explore the perspective of managers regarding breastfeeding in the Ethiopian context. Methods: Managers of district level, government institutions were interviewed in the Tigray region of North Ethiopia. Semi-structured, face to face interviews were used to explore managers’ perspectives and views about breastfeeding, the level of support they provide to breastfeeding mothers, and the challenges they faced. The data were transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed. Results: Fifteen managers were interviewed from 12 organizations. The data were categor-ized into three themes. The first theme related to the attitudes and preference of managers and revealed that overall participants had positive views towards breastfeeding. The second theme highlighted managers’ concern about the impact of breastfeeding on staffing and workplace productivity. The third theme focused on managers’ assertions that, despite improvements, there were still inadequate policies and government strategies to support employed breastfeeding women in North Ethiopia. Conclusion: It is promising that managers in North Ethiopia expressed a positive attitude towards supporting breastfeeding mothers. Managers raised concern about the impact of breastfeeding on work performance, as well as the lack of physical facilities and government resources that affects the level of support they can provide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-480
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Women's Health
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2020


  • Employment
  • Ethiopia
  • Exclusive breastfeeding
  • Managers

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