Comparison of breastfeeding rates and health outcomes for infants receiving care from hospital outpatient clinic and community health centres in China
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Utilization of community health centres for child health care instead of hospital outpatient clinics is being promoted in China. To evaluate breastfeeding rates and health outcomes of infants who received health care from hospital outpatient clinic or community health centre, a prospective cohort study with six months follow-up was undertaken in Chengdu, China. Participants were 845 mothers and their infants, 417 receiving care from one hospital and 428 from five community health centres. The 'any breastfeeding' rates at one and three months post-partum were significantly lower (p < 0.01) in the hospital outpatient clinic (84% and 68%) than community health centres (92% and 78%). The presence of common illness problems was similar, though the prevalence of lower respiratory tract infection was significantly higher in the hospital group (14.6% vs. 6%, p < .01). No difference in infant growth was observed between the two groups. The results support continuing expansion of child health-care services through community health centres in China.
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