E-learning to Improve Healthcare Professionals' Attitudes and Practices on Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding training has a crucial role in increasing healthcare professionals' attitudes and in improving professional support for breastfeeding. The collaboration between the Italian National Institute of Health, UNICEF, and the Local Health Authority of Milan has led to the development of an online course on lactation and infant feeding practices.
To assess if the course was effective in improving healthcare professionals' attitudes and practices (APs).
We conducted a prestudy-poststudy, comparing users' APs before (T0) and after (T1) the course through a 20-item questionnaire. Changes in APs were analyzed using paired t-test. Lower mean differences indicated more positive attitudes and more frequent professional practices favoring breastfeeding. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS version 15.0.
The course had 26,009 registrants and was successfully completed by 91.3% of users. The dropout rate was 8.7%. The final cohort was composed of 15,004 participants. The course improved attitudes, while minor changes were observed on practices (p < 0.05). Mean total attitude scores were 2.4 at T0 and 1.9 at T1, while mean total practice scores were 2.2 and 2.1, respectively. The main effects regarded the use of medications during breastfeeding (3.02 ± 1.29 at T0 and 1.88 ± 1.08 at T1) and the self-reported compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (2.29 ± 1.24 at T0, 2.03 ± 1.21 at T1).
The noninteractive, high-coverage e-learning approach seems to be a useful tool for improving awareness and positive attitudes toward breastfeeding among healthcare professionals.
Web-based; breastfeeding; e-learning; education.