A mixed-method evaluation of the views of medical teachers on the applicability of the 'infant and young child feeding chapter' in Saudi medical colleges

Fouzia Al-Hreashy*, Hanan Al-Kadri, Abduelah Al-Mobeirek, Albert Scherpbier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


Background: Lack of sufficient preparation of physicians for the provision of breastfeeding support and counselling has been well-documented. The development of training in breastfeeding medicine for medical students is currently ongoing worldwide. This study was conducted to gain insights into a potential framework for a breastfeeding education curriculum.

Methods: A mixed-method design was used to evaluate the opinions of medical teachers regarding current lactation education and the applicability of the World Health Organization 'Infant and young child feeding: model chapter for textbooks for medical students and allied health professionals' in medical colleges in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Twelve teachers from three medical schools were invited to participate in three rounds of research. The first round was carried out through an interview using open-ended questions under three headings: 1) The general opinion on breastfeeding medicine education in medical colleges; 2) The opinion on the contents of the chapter under investigation; and 3) The opinion on cultural points regarding Saudi Arabia and breastfeeding education in medical colleges. This was followed by a thematic analysis. Self-administered, closed-ended questionnaires were created for the second round based the results of the first round. The third round addressed areas of disagreement in opinions. To assess the degree of agreement objectively, rounds 2 and 3 were analyzed according to the 5-point Likert scale, with responses merged to a 3-point Likert scale where appropriate. A consensus was reached when greater than 70% agreement achieved.

Results: All participants agreed that breastfeeding education is suboptimal. Although they considered the world health organization resource on infant and young child chapter a suitable reference for the curriculum, they agreed that modifications to suit the Saudi Arabian context are necessary. The medical teachers suggested a unique curriculum for medical students, which is similar for both genders. However, disagreement existed regarding the provision of extra clinical training to female students.

Conclusions: Breastfeeding medicine education in medical colleges should be developed using resources that are rich in content, are physician-specific and take into consideration the culture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number232
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Medical Education
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2018


  • Breastfeeding
  • Infant nutrition
  • Lactation
  • Education
  • Curriculum
  • Medicine
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate/methods
  • Humans
  • Breast Feeding
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Female
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Child Nutrition Sciences/education
  • Schools, Medical

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