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Disaster Preparedness and Consent for Cross Nursing

This question was posted the Infant and young child feeding interventions forum area and has 1 replies.

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Rosemary Hoffmann

Clinical Nurse Specialist/ Elmhurst Hospital Cente

Normal user

10 Aug 2009, 12:35

In the event of a disaster cross nursing ( wet nursing) may become critical for infant survival. Does anyone have a consent form and or protocol they can share? Of course consideration for rapid HIV testing needs to be considered .


Forum Moderator, ENN

Forum moderator

11 Aug 2009, 11:45

From Nina Berry: Hi Rosemary I believe that the UNHCR has a policy on this. I am sure Marie McGrath will be along shortly with the title. The main message is that death from dehydration/diarrhoea is a much more important risk than HIV transmission via breastfeeding. In most emergencies, testing within the required timeframe (given that babies need to be fed within hours) is not feasible. You would be excluding wetnurses known to be HIV+ but it would be very difficult to mount a testing programme without putting babies at much greater risk of death from artificial feeding. In developed countries, women often share breastfeeding informally in emergencies (we saw this during the bushfire emergency in Australia in February of this year) - especially where there are high ambient rates of artificial feeding. It would be unlikely that a woman in a developed country who knew she was HIV+ would be breastfeeding her own baby anyway. I wonder what the function of a consent form would be. If the only available safe food for a baby is another woman's milk, there is no alternative. I could see a place for a consent form for the provision of artificial feeding materials - to ensure that recipients understand the grave risk they are taking by feeding babies infant formula during emergencies. Regards Nina

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