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Table 3 Lessons learnt

From: Community based peer counsellors for support of exclusive breastfeeding: experiences from rural Uganda

The Intervention
   • Training rural women as peer counsellors for support of exclusive breastfeeding is feasible
   • Introducing an activity in a community can be a long process requiring multiple visits starting with the district down to the lowest level to ensure community involvement. This is important for the community to accept the peer counsellors.
   • It is our impression that completely voluntary work is difficult to maintain in this rural Ugandan setting; discussions on how to compensate the peer counsellors for their time should be part of an exclusive breastfeeding intervention.
The training
   • The trainers should be fluent in the local language in order to explain the concepts in a way that is easily understood by the peer counsellors.
   • The training materials should be suitable for the local needs with appropriate illustrations and visual aids.
   • Peer counsellors need more hands-on practice during training especially on the counselling skills using role-plays and more practice with real mothers during the training than provided in our course.
Follow-up
   • The peer counsellors were able to use the knowledge acquired to help their peers in their communities and were easily accepted by their peers in the communities.
   • For effective support supervision, supervisors need to be dedicated, for instance by being contracted on full time basis and paid.
   • We also assessed the possibility of individual randomization in a larger study but concluded that it would be difficult to randomize individual mothers since they interact with each other and share their breastfeeding experiences; community randomization is probably a more feasible option.