Digital Public Defence: Melina Bernard Mgongo

MPH Melina Bernard Mgongo at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “Ideal and Reality: Exclusive Breastfeeding Practices and Child Nutritional Status in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Photo: Astab Digital Studio

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

Click here to participate in the public defence

Download Zoom here

Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Associate Professor Lisanne M. du Plessis, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Second opponent: Professor Ingunn Marie Stadskleiv Engebretsen, University of Bergen
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Emeritus Thor Willy Ruud Hansen, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Associate Professor Katariina Laine, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor II Siri Vangen, University of Oslo


Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) is a powerful intervention to improve child growth and development. This study assessed the factors that influence EBF, explored EBF barriers and facilitators and its association with child undernutrition conditions among children aged 0-24 months in Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania. The results show that 29% of mothers were able to practice EBF. There was a sharp drop in EBF practice from 51% when the infants were 0-1 months to 15% when they were 4-5 months. Getting advice from a health care worker was positively associated with EBF practice. Mothers had high theoretical knowledge and positive attitudes towards EBF practice; however, they were unable to translate their knowledge into EBF practice. Child undernutrition was high; 42% were stunted, 46% underweight and 7.5% wasted. Childhood infections, low birth weight, mothers’ low educational level and increase in child age were associated with child undernutrition conditions. Breastfeeding, but not EBF was associated with child undernutrition. Though EBF did not show any association with child undernutrition, we cannot underestimate the importance of EBF in improving child health in this setting.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.



Published Jan. 31, 2022 1:48 PM - Last modified Feb. 14, 2022 11:25 AM