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CNN article missing IYCFE lens

This question was posted the Infant and young child feeding interventions forum area and has 8 replies.

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Jodine Chase

SafelyFed Canada

Normal user

12 Aug 2017, 17:43

This is an unfortunate article that could use a high-level response.

Bindi Borg

IYCF researcher and practitioner

Normal user

15 Aug 2017, 09:35

In some countries, there are press councils that will investigate complaints of irresponsible or harmful journalism ( Apparently, no such body exists in the USA ( I guess responses could be made directly to CNN, and if this article is picked up by media outlets in other countries, complaints could be lodged with that country’s press council.

Brooke Bauer

Nurture Project International

Normal user

15 Aug 2017, 11:26

I am the director of Nurture Project International and am based in Iraq. We are helping to lead the IYCFE response in Mosul. We have issued a response here.

Jennifer Yourkavitch

Normal user

15 Aug 2017, 12:45

This article indicates an urgent need at Doctors Without Borders for education and training in IYCF-E support.

Myrto Schaefer

Deputy Medical Director MSF OCP

Normal user

18 Aug 2017, 09:20

MSF and IYCF in Iraq
August 2017

In response to the recent discussions about IYCF in Mosul, Iraq, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has always and will always continue, to support breastfeeding.
MSF started its response to the crisis in Mosul in November 2016. Since March 2017 MSF has treated more than 900 children with malnutrition. A high proportion of these children have been malnourished infants less than six months of age.
MSF urgently opened a nutrition program in Qayyarah, about 60 km south of Mosul city, comprising an inpatient feeding centre of 12 beds. This unit very quickly became overwhelmed. The immediate life-saving response needed to be provision of a breast milk substitute because many mothers were not lactating for a number of reasons. These include breastfeeding not having been standard practice in the community prior to the current conflict, as well as maternal nutritional and general health problems directly linked to the conflict. Relactation — stimulation of the production of breast milk—is a process that takes time and skilled staff, both of which were initially lacking due to the emergency context.
Provision of infant formula was therefore an essential first step of re-nutrition, and was accompanied by promotion of breastfeeding and training of staff to provide the necessary support to mothers.
MSF’s approach in Qayyarah does not run counter to WHO and UNICEF policy on infant feeding in emergencies as at no stage did MSF provide formula to mothers who were successfully breastfeeding. An in-depth assessment was made as to whether infant formula was needed for each individual mother-infant pair.
At no time did MSF undertake blanket distribution of infant formula.
MSF has recently launched a Baby Friendly Space (BFS) as a component of the nutrition response intervention, to help the family to adapt their infant feeding practices to the emergency and post-emergency context. BFS is used as a model to prevent and detect acute malnutrition in infants, young children and pregnant and lactating women, as well as to identify a mother or caretaker in emotional distress who could receive psycho-social support. BFS is considered as an adequate space for the protection and promotion of breastfeeding as well as for the identification of needs in the use of BMS.
MSF has a strong commitment to breastfeeding. The situation in Qayyarrah however shows that the response must always be adapted to the specific context.

Karleen Gribble

School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney Un

Normal user

19 Aug 2017, 04:09

Dear Myrto,
Thank you very much for responding here. It is heartening to hear about MSF's work in Mosul. As you mentioned, the approach you describe, where individual assessments are carried out and the appropriate support provided, including infant formula, is not only not counter to international policy, it is what is supposed to happen.

The journalist who wrote the article appears to have obtained her information in relation to MSF from a MSF webpage

Unfortunately this web page contains quite muddled messages. It appears to criticise international policy and although the text is somewhat confused it could be interpreted as suggesting that MSF believes that blanket (rather than individually assessed) distributions of infant formula would be appropriate. Would it be possible for this web page to be removed and a more accurate article replace it? It is so important to ensure that media messaging around IYCF-E is accurate and helpful.

Paul Mabany

Nutrition Project Officer ( UNIDO)

Normal user

19 Aug 2017, 16:11

IYCF is always the key component in the implementation of CMAM programming. It is important to know the impact of mother to mother support in the community where malnutrition is high due to armed conflict, e.g. Syrian and South Sudan and those worse affected by crisis including Yemen

Paul Mabany

Nutrition Project Officer ( UNIDO)

Normal user

19 Aug 2017, 16:23

Also important in the CMAM is to continue optimal breastfeeding practice by using IYCF trained counselors because we have tried this and it works. CMAM is a community project not a scientific program where your computer help you to program. We need to go down to community level and their culture and beliefs also matter.

Genevieve Becker

Normal user

24 Feb 2021, 17:47

Came across this thread 3.5 years on from the original posts. The MSF web site still carries multiple articles including Tired, traumatised Mosul mothers unable to breastfeed

Gives a very poor impression of MSF.

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