How much can Mexican healthcare providers learn about breastfeeding through a semi-virtual training? A propensity score matching analysis

Mireya Vilar-Compte, Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, Meztli Moncada, Diana Flores

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3 Scopus citations


Background: Mexico has shown a worrisome decrease in breastfeeding indicators, especially in the lowest socioeconomic level. Improving breastfeeding protection, promotion, and support services through workforce development is a key area of intervention. The objective of this study is to assess the influence on breastfeeding knowledge and abilities of a semi-virtual training for primary healthcare providers assisting beneficiaries of PROSPERA in Mexico, which is one of the largest conditional cash-transfer programs in the world. Methods: Two independent cross-sectional samples of healthcare providers were drawn at baseline and post-intervention in three states of Mexico. Baseline data were collected among primary physicians, registered nurses and nurse technicians (i.e. unit of analysis) on July 2016 (n = 529) and post-training between March and April 2017 (n = 211). A 19-item telephone questionnaire assessed providers' general knowledge about breastfeeding, breastfeeding benefits and clinical aspects of breastfeeding, clinical ability to solve problems and abilities to overcome breastfeeding challenges. The effects of the training were assessed through a propensity score matching (PSM) stratified by types of providers (i.e. physicians, registered nurses, nurse technicians). Results: The PSM analysis showed significant improvements among all providers in the general knowledge about breastfeeding (around 20 percentage points [pp]) and knowledge about breastfeeding benefits (approximately 50 pp). In addition, physicians improved their knowledge about clinical aspects of breastfeeding (7 pp), while registered nurses improved in their ability to solve breastfeeding problems (14 pp) and in helping mothers overcome breastfeeding challenges (12 pp). Conclusions: Promoting a breastfeeding enabling environment in Mexico to improve breastfeeding rates will require improving the knowledge and skills of healthcare providers. While a semi-virtual training showed large improvements in knowledge, developing skills among providers may require a more intensive approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
JournalInternational Breastfeeding Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 29 Jun 2020


  • Breastfeeding
  • EsIAN
  • Mexico
  • Training


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